The upcoming Fèis Ìle is a festival of utmost importance on the single malt whisky lovers’ calendar. Thousands of people travel to Scotland’s Isle of Islay to visit the nine distilleries that each get their own dedicated day during the festival.
The Bunnahabhain Distillery’s day is set for Friday, June 2nd. And that’s when and where the distiller will debut a trio of new expressions: Bunnahabhain’s Canasta Cask Matured, 1998 Manzanilla Cask Finish, and 17-year-old Triple Cask Moine.
A statement from Bunnahabhain notes that for the first time ever, the remote Islay distillery will launch a fully-immersive virtual reality experience for those who can’t make it to the Fèis Ìle 2023 event in person.
This virtual reality experience is designed to allow users to immerse themselves in the world of Bunnahabhain, explore the distillery in 360 degrees, and sample the whisky along with the distillery team … all from the comfort of their home.
Master Distiller Brendan McCarron said that two of the new expressions, the Canasta Cask Matured and the 1998 Manzanilla Cask Finish, will be available globally with a special experimental peated expression, the 17-year-old Triple Cask Moine, sold exclusively at the distillery and at the Bunnahabhain website.
The Canasta Cask Matured is an expression inspired by the Bunnahabhain 1980 Canasta Cask Finish limited release. Canasta casks are seldom seen in whisky making. They feature a blend of Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes that aged inside these barrels before being used for whisky making.
McCarron explained that this spicy and sweet combination compliments the Bunnahabhain unpeated spirit well, adding layers of complexity and richness. The expression clocks in at 51.2% ABV.
The 1998 Manzanilla Cask Finish is influenced by Bunnahabhain’s coastal home at the northernmost part of Islay. Manzanilla is known for its coastal, nutty and salty characteristics, which McCarron explained pairs well with Bunnahabhain’s unpeated Sherried spirit, leading to a dram bottled at a cask strength of 52.3% ABV.
The 17-year-old Triple Cask Moine expression is an exclusive only at the distillery. The experimental expression was inspired by Julieann Fernandez, Bunnahabhain’s master blender, and her favorite rum and raisin ice cream.
A contrast to Bunnahabhain’s house style, the distiller explained, the 17-year-old has an ABV of 52.6% and is a marriage of three blended, peated single malts that offers notes of artisan rum and raisin ice cream, with a smoky finish.
McCarron said, “We’re so excited to welcome whisky fans from across the globe to celebrate the world of Bunnahabhain at Fèis Ìle once again. We look forward to the festival every year as it is a great way to spend time with whisky lovers, bring them into our world and share some fantastic drams in such a beautiful setting.”
He said that the festival gives the Bunnahabhain team a “fantastic opportunity to experiment with the limited peated spirit we have, and our 17-year-old triple cask is a uniquely wonderful and smoky expression to add to the celebration.”
You can join the virtual Bunnahabhain experience, with tasting kits and access to the virtual guide available at www.bunnahabhain.com.