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Whisky Reviews

Bunnahabhain 2010, 13 Year Old, The Single Cask Singapore 8th Anniversary Bottling, 65.4% ABV

 

The Single Cask is an independent bottler of - you guessed it, single casks - with chapters around the world, and one of these chapters sits in Singapore.

The Singapore chapter of the independent bottler is pretty unique - it is the bottler's first bar. But it's not just any bar, it is one of the most popular whisky bars in the island state and is one that's close to my heart - and this year (that's 2023), the bar celebrates its 8th anniversary.

 

Chijmes, once a Catholic convent, today a popular wedding venue by day, and watering hole by night.

 

For those who have yet to visit, the bar sits tucked away in a corner of Singapore's historic Chijmes building in the heart of town - the former Catholic convent is today a beautiful estate that is not just a popular wedding venue by day with its gorgeous gothic-styled white themed architecture, but also a vibrant watering hole by night, when the estate is lit up with fluorescent spotlights.

The Single Cask Singapore was founded in 2015, just half a decade after The Single Cask itself was established, and since then has been the venue of many drams and laughs shared, and has played host to many whisky fans new and seasoned.

 

(Left to Right): Weide, Brendan and Yixian, the folks behind The Single Cask Singapore.

 

It is run by three lovely folks - Yixian, Brendan and Weide, who you'll find at the bar or at various whisky festivals, and always wear a warm smile. Now, if they were just bartenders, it would not explain their local popularity - rather, it would be more accurate to call them community ambassadors. They sit at the heart of the whisky and spirits community in Singapore, and are pretty much a yellow pages (phonebook) for who's who in the scene. But at the core, they're just downright awesome folks who you can share a drink and a great conversation with.

And that's why when they hosted their 8th Anniversary Special, a battle royale blind tasting shootout for a chance to win their anniversary bottle, a 13 Year Old ex-Ruby Port Barrel aged Bunnahabhain Single Malt, you can bet the bar was filled with long time fans there to celebrate the milestone and share in the merriment. 

 

 

Ultimately, the whisky, the amazing turn out and the fans and friends - it's all a testament to how much joy the bar has brought to everyone's lives, and the great folks behind it. It's lots of hard work, but it's certainly special.

Of course, I had to be stuck in class on that very day - but regardless, the moment I could (after class as you might expect), I had to try their anniversary Islay Scotch.

Bunnahabhain 2010, 13 Year Old, The Single Cask Singapore 8th Anniversary Bottling, 65.4% ABV - Review

 

Tasting Notes

Color: Amber

Aroma: Kicking off with sweet sherry, mulled wine, complete with a light nuttiness, leather and cacao - could’ve easily passed off as an ex-Sherry cask finish to me! This progresses to a more savoury, umami scent of brie rind, chicken stock cubes, dried mushrooms and soil - somewhat earthy, rancio notes. It’s very harmonious and cohesive.

With time it opens up into an aromatic bouquet of red wine, cassia and black grapes - those big, densely sweet aromas of crushed berries.

Taste: Lots of mulled wine dense sweetness, cooked plums and prunes, blackberry jam, as well as leather, clove spices and cacao nibs. Much like its aromas, it continues on to a more umami and savoury note of dried mushrooms, nuts, bouillon cubes - rancio vibes.

Finish: Very much a continuation of the flavours on the palate - more umami savoury notes, before turning into more densely sweet cooked fruits of plums and blackberries. Rancio flavours again, but this time with a light drying quality, and alittle bit more of those wood tannins; lingering berry jam sweetness.

  

My Thoughts 

Very, very enjoyable stuff - great flavours that are big and bold, it has complexity and boldness, but what strikes me most is how well-integrated the dense sweetness of cooked fruits is pared against the more savoury, umami rancio flavours - perfectly balanced and so cohesive. I would've thought it was a well-executed ex-Sherry cask if the label hadn't said otherwise!

The two-tone flavours move in synchrony beautifully, progressing from one to the next seamlessly, each with just as much power as the other; entirely well expressed. It is just the right contrast and very much flavour-forward.

It’s well-rounded and leaves room for intrigue and surprise. Safe to say there’s no off notes nor sharpness - it also brightens up and deepens in sweetness with some air time. That's where the Ruby Port shines through.

It also delivers a great warmth and long finish - punchy, well-balanced and something that’ll make you stop and smile - much like the folks and the bar it’s bottled for.

With a small outturn of just shy of 60 bottles, there's a couple left on The Single Cask Singapore's site, so definitely check it out. 

  

Kanpai!

 

@111hotpot