As far as any single scotch goes, Littlemill whisky must surely be a prime candidate for surprise of the year. Cask after cask –shared or otherwise – has come to the market and regardless of bottler, quality has been exceptionally high. The refill or bourbon casks have been both fresh, zesty and rounded while the sherry casks (such as the Littlemill 1988 Archives we reviewed in August) have offered varying degrees of contrasting, dark-fruited richness.
This example from the good chaps at The Whisky Barrel comes under their popular “Burns Malt” series and is listed as a Sherry Cask. Judging from the colour, it’s from fairly inactive refill wood and may therefore serve as a perfect contrast to that aforementioned, well sherried Archives release. What a shame it is that, along with a number of much loved distilleries, we are discovering such quality only after Littlemill is lost to history.
As you might expect, there is no shortage of whisky companies issuing bottles to commemorate the Queen’s 60th year, and with the industry enjoying considerable interest at the moment it’s equally unsurprising that several of these new releases head down the fancy box/crystal decanter route at the “ultra-premium” end of the market. Thankfully though, this landmark occasion is also soliciting more accessible bottlings than the likes of Diageo’s £100,000 1952 Johnnie Walker, with this more modest Bunnahabhain whisky from TheWhiskyBarrel certainly being one example worth checking out.
Bunnahabhain is well represented by the Independent Bottlers and just recently we have seen a raft of quite heavily sherried casks reaching the grubby hands of the masses. In fact this is the second of two such examples the good people of TheWhiskyBarrel.com have graced us with, and it’s clear from a mere glance that this second release is considerably lighter and less sherry influenced than the first. Speaking personally, this pleases me greatly as the Bunnahabhain spirit is more than capable of speaking for itself, and less cask influence also helps to avoid the strong sulphury notes that seem quite common in the darker examples.