I don’t have a lot of formal experience with Bunnahabhain. I just reviewed another Bunnahabhain and so I thought this would be a good time to review something from the same distillery, so that I could get a better idea of the house style. This is my first review of an official bottling, and my third overall. I have @Fiddich1980 to thank for this sample, which he gave me a year and a half ago! Sorry to wait so long to try it.
This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Sweet, soft, sherried nose. There is a freshness to it. Dark fruits. Cherries. Baking spices. white grape juice. A little underpowered but flawless. Water seemed to mute the nose. Same smells but it’s as if the volume was simply turned down. (20/25)
First sip is sweet and a bit spirity. There is an off, slightly solventy note. It is very fruity but it moves from the arrival through to the finish very quickly. There is a peppery note in the development. Overall a little thin in the mouthfeel. Water seems to tone down the bitterness in the development. (21.5/25)
slightly bitter, pepper, long finish. Water brings out the pepper over the bitter. (21/25)
The nose promises more than the palate delivers. The bitterness is a bit overpowering of the other flavours.
Score: Neat - 84.5/100 With Water: 83.5/100
Not a bad whisky. A little underpowered, and slightly on the bitter side, though that might be a good thing for some. I’m very glad, @fiddich1980, to have been given the chance to try it, and I look forward to revisiting the rest of the sample.
@Nozinan, @OdysseusUnbound you two are not the only ones who were not wowed by Bunnahabhain 18. I first had some from Tom Alexander's bottle about 8 years ago. Tom loved it. My wife loved it. My sister liked it a lot. I was "meh" about it. I think I've had it only once since, and my reaction was not too much different the second time. I'd like to try it again, and more of it, because there is often something more to discover in a whisky that others rave about, and hasn't yet revealed its greatness to you.
@Nozinan my impressions about Bunnahabhain 18 yo were actually quite similar to yours.
@OdysseusUnbound It's hard to believe we reviewed the same expression, let alone the same bottle!
But I long ago gave up trying to taste all the individual things that other people can. I try my best, but ultimately my score is based on how it tastes as a whole...