Show rating data charts
Distribution of ratings for this:
Three years ago I went on a whirlwind tour of Islay. Starting at Bowmore, they had a glamorous "clean" looking modern visitor's centre and reception greeting you straight from the street.
We finished at Bunnahabhain - their visitor's centre took a bit of finding. I recall having to wander around the distillery yards trying to work out exactly where it was. Eventually finding it round the back by climbing up a rickety metallic fire-escape type set of steps and wandering into the scruffiest room I saw that day. I make it sound bad but it actually added to the character. Especially when I immediately had a glass of their 12 year-old malt thrust into my hand, which made for a very pleasant welcome.
So onto the 18. Bunnahabhain came out from the dark side a few years ago by making the very respectable decision to remove all colouring and chill-filtering from their core range. The first thing I notice about this is just how dark it is. It must have sherry influence but the bottle does not explicitly say so.
Nose: Upon pouring I immediately get apples and spices. Sitting in the glass for a while it opens up to reveal raisins, red berries, (yep -typical sherry cask profile), along with sugared fruits. A bit like a stewed plum pudding. Sugared almonds are in there somewhere. Warm spiciness remains throughout.
Palate: Marzipan is quite prominent. A summer fruit cocktail - strawberries, blackcurrants, raspberries. Just a hint of aniseed with a peppering of spiciness. Fairly thick and smooth mouthfeel.
Finish: Medium-Long. Sweetness remains initially before drying out.
It's a nice mellow malt. It's not 'spectacular' but I don't think that is the intention here. The kind of malt that you can just chill-out with, (particularly in winter in front of a fire - so I might leave the rest of this bottle until December).