The First Must-Have Malt of 2018
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the best new whisky I've tried in months and the most exciting release of 2018 thus far: the Bunnahabhain 14 year old Limited Release Pedro Ximenez Finish, bottled at 54.3%. Not only is it going to send sherry bomb addicts into a sugar-induced coma, it's going to have Macallan and Glendronach drinkers scrambling into an all-out bunker war for who can acquire the largest stash. Aged in refill sherry butts, then finished for three years in PX sherry butts (the sweetest sherry of them all), you immediately get a toffee-laden mouthful of dripping wet suppleness, bolstered by the sea salt of the Bunnahabhain brine. Imagine a big salted caramel in whisky form, oozing across your palate and sliding ever slow slowly down your gullet with each sip. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Take into consideration that this is an official distillery release, limited in quantity, immense in quality, and clocking in at a fantastic 108.6 proof, all for a hundred bucks.
The question you should be asking yourself now is not whether to buy a bottle, but rather how many?
It's awesome, to say the least. I've been sipping on it for five straight days now and I've yet to get tired of it. Staunch Islay fans may lament the lack of heavy peat, but there's just the slightest hint of phenolic smoke on the finish, interlocked with all the dried fruits, sweet syrup, and creamy malt character. They only made 5900 bottles of this for the world and I've already drained two of them, so they're disappearing as fast as I can drink them.
If you even remotely like sherry-matured single malt, you're going to want at least one bottle. However, if you're a serious sherry head I would strongly advocate for multiples. I can promise you you'll be kicking yourself down the road. The level of saturation and sweetness, coupled with the proof creates quite the harmonious balance. This is the type of whisky that got me excited about single malt in the first place more than a decade ago. If you haven't guessed already, I really, really like it. Bravo Bunnahabhain!