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Last night, I got off work and decided to head to Paddy's, a bar in Portland with a large selection that serves it's Whisky in a proper nosing glass. A huge plus.
Having come to a place in my walk with Whisky where I felt it was time to explore what Islay has to offer, I decided to start with the Bunnahabhain 12, having heard it was light and approachable. So the bartender poured me a healthy dram and left the bottle with me to explore. Class act. According to the bottle, it's an Islay pronounced "Bu-na-ha-venn." Go figure!
Nose: Not at ALL what I was expecting. When I think Islay, I think smoke and peat. That was not the case. My first approach was subtle, smooth, damp. Very interesting. Very tame for 46% ABV. I got notes of wet wood, orchard fruits, some light earthiness and a definitely undertone of orchard fruits. Very, very pleasant. 15 minutes in and hazelnut becomes much more prevalent.
Palate: Are we SURE this is Islay? Very welcoming and soft! Leather, fruits, wood, and with time I get hazelnut. Some light smoke. I'm a fan of this.
Finish: Long, heavy but soft, just like the tone of this entire dram. Some hazelnut, orchard fruits and driftwood continue on the end. I'm telling ya, this was pretty damn enjoyable. I'd go back for more.
Balance: This dram, from start to finish, is good. Not amazing, but good. It's balanced, fresh, flavorful. A solid everyday drinker.