The Perfect Fifth is an independent bottler from the United States, but they just recently launched in Europe as well. One of their first bottlings available here is a Bunnahabhain 1991 28 Years from a first-fill bourbon barrel, which I’ll review today. Check back tomorrow for my thoughts on their Aberlour, which is a few years older even.
The first time I heard of The Perfect Fifth was when they launched their inaugural range of Scotch whiskies almost two years ago. At the time there were only a handful of independent bottlers of Scotch whiskies in the United States, so they received quite a bit of attention. Here’s how founder Karl Schoen explained his company’s philosophy at the time.
“As one of the first independent bottlers in the US, we are in a position to seek out the gold among a multitude of single casks, and set high standards in our selection process.
“We pride ourselves on curating and selecting the finest single cask whisky that has remained hidden or has been forgotten about over time. So when you sample a bottle of whisky from The Perfect Fifth, you really are experiencing a piece of lost whisky history.”
This Miami based bottler focuses on rare, limited, super premium Scotch whiskies. Indeed, if you’re hoping to find a steal, you should look elsewhere. The first four releases were priced anywhere between $850 and $3000, the cheapest being a 27yo Glen Scotia, while a Highland Park 1987 was the most pricey of their first bottlings.
It’s not that I want to write about whisky prices again, but I feel you should know what you’re getting into. Because while costly, from my limited experience with them they know how to pick a barrel. Especially the Bunnahabhain reviewed below is first-class. And compared to some of their other releases, it’s priced relatively decently. Much more than I’m comfortable paying, but your comfort level might sit a lot higher than mine.
Anyway, back to what’s most important, the liquid. Because unlike others, I don’t give out ratings based on price. I can’t decide for you what is good value, but I will try my damn best to give some insight into the quality of a whisky. And this Bunnahabhain 1991 28 Years from The Perfect Fifth has that in abundance.
Bunnahabhain 1991 28 Years (50.5%, The Perfect Fifth, C#5386)
Nose: A light and delicate first impression with an interesting minerality, some chalk, subtle notes of lemon pith and green grape must. There’s touches of hemp rope and damp, decaying leaves as well. Some bready aromas too. Extremely elegant and well-balanced. Taste: Yes! Plenty of minerals and an admirable waxiness, not too dissimilar from the better Clynelish that I’ve had the pleasure of tasting. There’s a touch of wood smoke with chalky and earthy notes as well. A pinch of white pepper and oak, but also honey, mellow citrus notes and menthol. Finish: Distinct notes of orange zest, while the pepper and herbal notes linger.
The Bunnahabhain 1991 28 Years from The Perfect Fifth requires some commitment. It doesn't give away its secrets on the first sniff. But spend some time with it and you'll find it is a masterpiece.