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Bunnahabhain Darach Ur Batch 1

Average score from 7 reviews and 19 ratings 82

Bunnahabhain Darach Ur Batch 1

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Bunnahabhain Darach Ur Batch 1

This Bunna, for the travel retail segment, matured on new American oak. It is surprisingly dark. That new American oak offers quite some sweetness on the nose, in the guise of vanilla, baked apples, overripe banana and farmer’s butter. Sweeter than expected, I must say. There is also quite a bit of ginger and hints of oak – all of it within limits. Nice, inviting nose. The body is rather light and now the cask clearly takes the reins. Still sweet on vanilla custard with raisins, but the ginger and pepper become very loud. The woodspices are king, that much is clear. And it prevents the true Bunna character to remain hidden, which is a bit of a pity. The finish can be called long, but it leaves the mouth completely dry. So much so, that you will long for a glass of water. Surely that cannot be the goal? Just a tad too much influence of the cask in my (not so) humble opinion.


Darach Ùr means ‘fresh oak’ in Gaelic and was launched in 2008 as an exclusive travel retail expression. It was matured in new American oak casks from a family-run cooperage in Bardstown/Kentucky.

The nose is rich and lush with plenty of vanilla, cinnamon and crème brûlée flavours. Then there is a good dose of wood spice but not aggressive and very well integrated.

The palate is medium-bodied, fresh and vibrant. The vanilla flavours are back, now together with notes of caramel, ginger and cereals. There is also a hint of fudge and some lemon notes.

The finish is of medium length and pleasantly warming. Vanilla and ginger flavours last until the very end.

This was an unusual Bunnahabhain in the sense that the virgin oak barrels have given it a freshness that I had not seen in other expressions. I very much enjoyed this vibrant and lush bottling of one of my favourite distilleries. Apparently this has now become somewhat rare, so why not grab a bottle if you see one.

@Pierre_W, thanks for your very interesting review. So I guess that Darach Ur does not have an age statement. It would be very interesting to know the average age of the whiskies present.

New oak can easily overpower barley grain if the oak is charred to open up the veins in the wood. Jim Murray made a huge mistake in referring to the 19 yo Glenmorangie Ealanta as having been made in the way that bourbon is made. It was not. Bourbon always, by law, uses new CHARRED oak barrels. Ealanta used new TOASTED oak barrels. This makes far more sense with barley-malt whisky...and if Ealanta had been matured for 19 years in new CHARRED oak barrels you probably would not have been able to taste any barley in it...only flavours from new wood. Toasted oak aging allows much subtlety to develop and blocks most of the big flavours from the wood.

I would like to see more information from these distillers using new oak to make barley-malt whisky. Stranahan's in Colorado does a nice job with new charred oak, but they don't take the whiskey aging much beyond 3 to 5 years maximum. You can easily tell with Stranahan's that it wouldn't take too much to put it over the edge from the wood influence. Fortunately, they are well aware of that there.

I think that if I were making a Scottish malt and planned to try some new oak aging, that I would experiment a lot. I think that I'd maybe mix one part charred new oak with two parts toasted new oak. That way one could probably get away with aging the whisky 10 to 12 years in Scotland without the wood influence overpowering the barley.

Dear @Victor, many thanks for your kind words, as always. You are correct in stating that Darach Ùr is a NAS single malt. As I mentioned, it has become quite rare and batch #1 is virtually unobtainable these days. I think that a maturation in new oak casks is quite unusual in Scotland and it certainly worked well in the case of Darach Ùr, but things could get quickly wrong - as you quite correctly mention - were the flavours from the new oak barrel to overtake all the whisky's barley flavours. Many thanks again for your very insightful comments!


Coming from Islay, this is one of the odd couple. It's unlike Islay. The New Oak (=Darach Ur) is there but it didn't feel unusually strong for my senses. All in all, this is a good whisky. Especially the nose where you can feel the oak.

Nose: Stingy with a fresh new wood feel. Turns into smooth and nutty. Some toffee and walnuts.

Taste: Creamy caramel with salt and pepper. Nutty coffee.

Finish: Finish is quite long and warming, a bit too spicy for my taste but that's only a very small blemish on the overall goodness.

Balance: A very nice mixture of caramel and spices combined with nuts and oak. Good job by Bunnahabhain.

I am a huge fan of the Bunnahabhain range! One of my favorite bottles is the 18 yo. I've not come across this one yet but I hope I do one day soon...


I like the taste, it is like the original Bunnahabhain taste, sweetish taste, reminds me of butterish/caramel or sweet flowers by the sea/salt with hints of pepper.

This Darach Ur has a very spesial oak taste, it is almost overwhelming and hides a lot of other tastes. I tend to like Darach Ur. It reminds me more of a blend of malts than a single malt.

I recommend it for a fair price at taxfree markeds.


Very very light nose. Fresh and clean with a some licorice and malt flavours.

Soft. Again repeats the touch of licorice and very well balanced. A little bit sour kick at the end.


Durach Ur is a new whisky experience, the experiment of using "New Oak" has added an unique nose and finish to the whisky.

The nose barley sweet,dry fruit and most profoundly, its like putting your nose inside a new wooden draw/cupboard or brand new fresh pencil shaving, as if a carpenter is working away in a old fashion sweet shop. Its actually rather appealing.

The palate smooth and i find quite mouth watering, will the oak taste arriving after and taking over, running with your taste bud all the way to the long woody finish.

Its a wonderful new experience (experiment?). Its not going to blow your mind, its not going to be a favorite whisky community discussion (evidently so as I found only a handful of reviews online). But if you are looking for a rather different whisky to add to your collection. This is a great choice.

1-10 (10 being sublime) - 6.

just bought this in duty free when travelling over to euro disney and i think this is a stunning whisky. This is my first experience with a bunna and although i had read they are not like your typical Islays i was totally shocked to find no smoke at all. Really smooth and i think complex. One of the few malts that actually taste good with ice. Love it.


"Darach Ur", means new oak. This bottling from Bunnahabhain is aged in fresh - unused - American oak casks. I picked up a litre bottle from Duty Free, which was its original outlet point only.

Nose: The peat comes across as a smokey, damp peat - fungi and wet woods. The oak comes through with a fruity coca-cola thing going on, and everything comes together to remind me of a caramel-soaked version of the polished floor we used to sit on for Monday morning school assemblies. It's different and intriguing rather than unpleasant, but let's see where it goes.

Body: Dry like raisins and licquorice, the oak comes through with that cola feel to it still. Hold it in the mouth and let it burn a bit, and it seems to fizz and crackle. Some of the damp grass notes from the nose surround the raisins/licquorice.

Finish: The same slightly bitter oaky-raisinness carries on through and lingers a while, leaving one to go back for more without too much surprise or expectation. The Darach Ur, it must be said, feels like more of a blend for the intrigued. It has a certain Islay-bitter-sweet-shop charm, which will appeal hugely to some and not at all to others.

Helpful, huh?

@scribe, I enjoyed reading your creative review. I'd really love to try some of this, with the hope that I would very much like it ... sounds very unique, and alluringly risky as well. Sounds like a candidate for a club tasting session :)

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