Whisky Advocate

Friday’s Pan: Signatory (peated Bunnahabhain), 1997 Vintage

March 28th, 2008

Signatory (distilled at Bunnahabhain), cask #5279, 1997 vintage, 9 year old, 59.9%, $45
The owners of Bunnahabhain are making a peated version of this normally unpeated Islay whisky to put in their peated blend, Black Bottle. But they have not yet put out, as a regular item, a peated expression of Bunnahabhain single malt for purchase. However, some of the independent bottlers got their hands on some, and this might be the first one to be offered in the U.S. It’s what you would expect a 9 year old peated Bunnahabhain to taste like: toffee, vanilla fudge, and nuts (the Bunny signature), kiln peat smoke, and a bit too much youthfulness from its young age. I like the potential of this whisky, but it needs a few more years to mature to acceptable levels. (Bottled for Binny’s Beverage Depot.)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 77

6 Responses to “Friday’s Pan: Signatory (peated Bunnahabhain), 1997 Vintage”

  1. Brian says:

    I’ve got a bottle of it, and it’s something to take in the context of Islay in the late 90s. It was a downturn in the market, enough to close Bruichladdich in 1994. The second lightest malt on Islay was Bunnahahain, and they probably got scared. I don’t have an ear to the industry, but I think it was more an experiment driven by fear than a way to replace a part of their Black Bottle blend.

    See also: The Ellenstown 10 that comes from an un-named Islay distillery. That appears to be yet another late 90s Islay experiment that someone’s trying to dump on the market.

  2. John Hansell says:

    Never had the Ellenstown 10. Where did you buy it? — John

  3. Tim says:

    I’ve seen the bottle at Premium Wines & Spirits in Williamsville New York, although I haven’t tried it myself.

  4. B.J. Reed says:

    Want a Bunnahabhain – Go for the 1968 Auld Acquaintance – Doesn’t get better than that :)

  5. John Hansell says:

    Wonderful stuff. I bought a bottle when across the pond a few years back. Some of those older Bunnys are amazing.

  6. kallaskander says:

    Bunnhabhain changed their malt completly in 1963. Before it was peated and Islay at its best. The water came from the surface and was richly peaty. Not only did they stop peating their malt they changed the water supply, too.
    I had a 1962 then 40 year old once and it was incredile. The Auld Acquaintance comes close.
    Bunnhabhain is now in the hands of Burn Stewart subsidary of CL Financial and started peating some of the Bunni again after they took over. That was 1997. They did wonders to the 12 year old expression, too. Burn Stewart owns Tobermory were they make the peated version called Ledaig and the ultra peated Iona.

    If Bunnhabhain were going back to the ways of the olden days the Bunnhabhain could challenge Ardbeg any time.

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