Review: Bunnahabhain 12yr Palo Cortado

This hand-filled exclusive warehouse #9 was filled on 13/8/20 by Billy Sinclair, cask number 17 of an unpeated 12 year old Bunnahabhain. Distilled in 2008, it rested for 9 years in an ex-Bourbon barrel before spending 3 years in a Palo Cortado finish.

Bunnahabhain 12yr Palo Cortado / 55.6% / £131

Tasted neat and with a little bottled water

Palo Cortado is an interesting sherry type, combining some of the light aromatics of Fino with the rich, oxidatively aged Oloroso style. I’m not an expert on sherry, but I found this article about Palo Cortado quite enlightening:

In a way you’re forcing a Fino-style base wine to age oxidatively like an Oloroso (which is usually produced from second press juices). In a good cask (especially one that contained Palo Cortado before), this will definitely get you a Palo Cortado.

I bought this because I have never had a Palo-Cortado cask finish before, and am very curious as to how it affects the flavour of the spirit, as I may rerack some casks I own into ex-Palo Cortado.

  • Color: auburn (1.5)
  • Nose: burnt brown sugar and molasses, banana bread, funky sherry, and rosewater
  • Taste: incredibly sweet, almonds, tangerine, and cola
  • Finish: long, sticky toffee, marshmallow

This is absolutely unique; I’ve never tasted anything quite like it, it reminds me quite a bit of a fine brandy, but less raisins and more cola. I have no regrets about trying Palo Cortado and I think it’s a great finishing cask.

This is pure dessert!

Rating: 93/100

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Elliott

Personal interests in literature, SF, and whisky/whiskey/scotch, Software Engineer by Trade