|Bunnahabhain, 12-Year-Old (Scotland) |
Bunnahabhain is the most remote distillery on Islay, and is renowned for producing one of the island?s less heavily peated whiskies. Production commended in 1883, and since 2003 Bunnahabhain has belonged to Burn Stewart Distilleries, who have extended the whisky?s range. However, the principal expression remains this 12-year-old.
Fresh on the nose, with light peat and discreet smoke. More overt peat on the nutty and fruity palate, but still restrained for an Islay. The finish is full-bodied and lingering, with a hint of vanilla and some smoke.
40.0% ABV, 70, ?22.95, widely available.
|Bunnahabhain, 18-Year-Old (Scotland) |
Lacking the big, brash ?iodine and peat smoke? credentials of its southern Islay neighbours, Bunnahabhain has been readily available as a 12-year-old expression for many years, yet has never really gained the recognition it deserves. Under the ownership of Edrington it was forced to play third fiddle to The Macallan and Highland Park, but now, in the hands of Burn Stewart, the 12-year-old has been joined by 18 and 25-year-old expressions. The 18-year-old is limited to 1,500 bottles in the first release, and presents a nose of toffee, marshmallow and spices. It is comparatively sweet, with stewed fruit. On the palate it offers something of a contrast to olfactory expectations, being nutty, dry and initially quite hot, with a touch of pepper. Caramelised fruits segue into a long finish of baked banana. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, ?48.95, specialist whisky merchants.
|Bunnahabhain, 1997 'Billowing Embers' (Wemyss Malts) (Scotland) |
From the same batch of single cask releases as 'Summer Orchard,' this example of a Bunnahabhain from Islay is a 15-year-old. 331 bottles have been issued.
Sweet peat smoke, brine, chorizo sausage and Rich Tea biscuits on the nose of this unusually bold Bunnahabhain. Citrus fruits and predominantly dry notes of bonfire smoke and oak on the palate. The finish is long, with plain chocolate, more peat smoke, savoury notes and chilli powder. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £75.00, specialist whisky merchants.
|Bunnahabhain, 2006 – Berry’s Own Selection (Scotland) |
We tend to think of bunnahabhain as one of Islay’s ‘milder’ and less assertive single malts, but since the late 1990s the distillery has been producing batches of heavily peated spirit under the ‘Moine’ banner. This youthful Bunnahabhain, bottled earlier this year by London wine and spirits merchants Berry Bros & Rudd, is of the heavily peated variety, and at 60.7%abv it certainly packs a punch!
Sea salt and buttery smoked haddock on the nose, with background vanilla. Fleeting fabric Elastoplast, log fires and damp ashtrays in time. Fruity Germolene notes and peat fire ash on the robust palate. Persistent ginger and medicinal peat in the relatively long finish. A big bruiser of a whisky, but nicely matured for its age.
60.7% ABV, 70cl, £39.95, Berry Bros & Rudd, specialist whisky merchants.
|Bunnahabhain, 24-year-old 1987 (Scotland) |
This 24-year-old cask strength expression from the Islay distillery of Bunnahabhain was matured in cask 1598 before being bottled by Duncan Taylor & Co Ltd in their Rare Auld range during November 2011.
Ready-salted potato crisps, sweetening with violets and Sherry on the nose. Full-bodied, muscular and sweet on the palate, with apples and black pepper. Long and gingery, with aniseed in the finish.
55.7% ABV, 70cl, ?86.95, specialist whisky merchants.
|Bunnahabhain, 25-Year-Old (Scotland) |
The 25-year-old?s initial release runs to just 400 bottles, but it is three times the price of its younger sibling. It comes in a smoked oak glass bottle, its labelling is on aged parchment, and it is presented in an Alder wooden box lined with Hessian and closed with solid brass fittings. Sweet and floral on the nose, with developing spices, the palate is Sherried and elegant, with baked apple. The Sherry lingers and dries in the long, pleasing finish. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, ?155.95, selected whisky specialists.
|Bunnahabhain, 32-year-old, Duncan Taylor - Rare Auld Collection (Scotland) |
This expression of Bunnahabhain from the Huntly-based bottlers and blenders was distilled in 1979 and matured in cask number 38408.
Mellow on the nose, quite fragrant, with lots of malt and nuts. The palate is full and fruity, with pineapple, lime and lemonade, plus big spice notes, toffee and liquorice. Long in the finish, with toffee, cocoa, a hint of oak, and an underlying creaminess. 47.1% ABV, 70cl, ?104.95, specialist whisky merchants.
|Bunnahabhain, 40-year-old (Scotland) |
Bunnahabhain has released 750 numbered and signed bottles of 40-year-old single malt, after Master Distiller Ian Macmillan discovered a number of ?forgotten? casks, originally filled for Glasgow wine merchants JG Turney.
?It was an exhilarating moment to stumble on such a special find,? says Macmillan. ?There are very few 40-year-old Islays, and unlike any other, Bunnahabhain?s taste is considered unique because the distillery does not heavily peat the fine malted barley.?
An inviting nose of apple pie with cinnamon, vanilla ice cream and milk chocolate. Salted popcorn. Molasses and a suggestion of sweet bonfire smoke with time. The palate is very sweet and fruity, then dries slowly. The finish is long and mildly tannic, with black pepper, musty oak, and a hint of smoke. 41.7% ABV, 70cl, ?1,999, specialist whisky merchants.
|Bunnahabhain, Darach Ur (Scotland) |
Darach Ur is Gaelic for ?new oak,? and this latest global travel retail exclusive release from the Islay distillery of Bunnahabhain contains whiskies up to 20 years of age, all matured in new oak barrels, sourced from a family-run cooperage in Bardstown, Kentucky.
According to Bunnahabhain, ?This is the first time they have been used for maturing single malt Scotch whisky. The first, small batch of this exclusive Bunnahabhain single malt, un-chill-filtered, natural in colour and of a higher strength, retains the fresh sweetness of the oak from barrel to bottle.?
The nose offers fresh oak, spice and pine nuts, while the palate displays citrus fruit, spicy vanilla, walnuts, cloves and cinnamon. The medium-length finish is gingery and drying.
46.3% ABV, 100cl, 48 Euros, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
|Bunnahabhain, Manzanilla Sherry Wood Finish (Scotland) |
The latest limited edition release in the Bunnahabhain range of Islay malts is a 16-year old. According to its producers, ?Via the Spanish sea estuary of the Guadalquivir River and the port of Sanl?car de Barrameda, this selected spirit languished in traditional oak at the Bunnahabhain Distillery for twelve long years before being transferred into Manzanilla Sherry casks for four more. This double maturation technique creates a fascinating variation to the famous Bunnahabhain gentle taste; the Manzanilla Sherry casks from Spanish bodegas make for a beguiling complement to the crisp, fresh influence of the bracing Islay air.?
Fragrant Sherry and leather on the nose are countered by gentle brine and peanut notes. Firm-bodied, dry and peppery on the palate, with bitter chocolate and liquorice sticks. The finish comprises dry oak and a sprinkle of salt.
A surprisingly different expression of one of Islays most underrated drams. Moreish is the word!
3,792 bottles from five casks. 53.2% ABV, 70cl, ?70.00, specialist whisky merchants.