Whisky Connosr

Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old

A different view from Islay

4 484

@HewieReview by @Hewie

19th May 2017


Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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This is one I've been meaning to try for some time now, and fortunately, it became available to me at a very reasonable price. This bottle has only been open for a couple of weeks now. Apparently, it is made with un-peated malt, and is aged in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. A unique bottle, but frustrating that you can't see the level.

NOSE: Initially port, cherry, dark red fruits. (Disclaimer: I've never actually had a glass of sherry before, but when I nose this, it reminds me of port.) It is somehow different to the usual sherry influenced malts I've encountered. Stewed fruits, with dried fruit in the background. There's a sweetness not sickly so, offset with burnt sugar. The wood is definitely there too, quite spicy. Unfortunately, the port note is fleeting, but it has been there with every glass from the bottle so far.

PALATE: A delicious, mouth filling combination of sherry fruitiness and spicy oak. A distinctive salty tang that creeps down the sides of the tongue. The spices, clove, nutmeg, linger - almost a little too much for me. The winey notes are still there and also something floral - almost like geraniums. Nuttiness, hazelnut, and a sweet malty background. I don't notice smoke, except a nod to some lapsang suchong tea.

FINISH: Dominated by woody spiciness, quite spicy. Burnt toffee and brine. The wood spices keep on going.

I'm really enjoying this. It's often described as a gentle Islay whisky. The box mentions "fondly known for its wonderfully gentle taste". I was worried it was going to be boring or too light for my tastes. Thankfully, it has quite a bit going on. The spiciness is quite unexpected and builds quite powerfully. Un-peated, but with the gentlest whiff of smoke.

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Alexsweden commented

Thank you for a great review. Bunnahabhain is quite the odd bird but I have to agree it is rather good! There are some really peated offerings that are good as well

6 years ago 0

Hewie commented

@Alexsweden Thanks. Yes, I think it is often overlooked in favour of the Islay big guns, but it has a lot to offer. Apparently, they do some heavily peated runs for just a few weeks each year - I'd like to try some of those at some stage too. Cheers

6 years ago 0

jsilevinac commented

I don't think there's a single "gentle" thing going on here. It's a bruiser with plenty of flavors being laid out. I love this one.

6 years ago 2Who liked this?

RianC commented

@jsilevinac - I agree. It's quite rich and had an adorable dried fruit/fig note that just got better and better. I wish all sherried whiskies could pull that off. Great review btw!

I seem alone on this but I thought it had a light but definite trace of peat in there along with the coastal elements. More than I expected anyway.

Not so much a gentle Islay, but one that goes in a different direction?

6 years ago 1Who liked this?