Bunnahabhain is a unique distillery located on the northeast tip of Islay. It is the only distillery on Islay that produces largely unpeated whisky. Due to the isolated location of Bunnahabhain, it earns a saying that goes like this: “You can take a trip to Islay, but it’s a journey to reach Bunnahabhain”. True to this saying, it is not easy to travel to Bunnahabhain as access is often limited to water passageway. The main road leading to the distillery was open only in 1993.
The object of this review is a Bunnahabhain 12 years old. Unlike the official bottling of the 12 years old, this one is from a single cask. It is also bottled at cask strength of 55.5% abv. This liquid matured for 12 full years in an ex-oloroso sherry cask before it was bottled for Quaich Bar. The single cask yields 332 bottles.
Let’s check out how it measures up!
Nose: The deep sherried notes wafts up to the nose immediately that translate into caramel quickly. Soft oak and some smoke appear after nosing it for a while. The sweetness of the liquid blends well with the slight smoke to create a pleasant nose. (18/20)
Palate: Sweet and slightly smoky with rich, dried cranberry with the first mouth. Caramel, chocolate and oaky richness appear shortly. Vanilla notes become pronounced at the end. (18/20)
Finish: Long finish with notes of vanilla and dried cranberry and a light pinch of salt. The salt is a little pleasant surprise as it seems to complete the whole experience of an Islay whisky. (18/20)
Body: Full-bodied sherry whisky with a balanced nose and palate. The slightly salted finish is also a great addition to make it a signature Islay whisky. (34/40)
Total Score: 88/100
Geek Choc: “This is a beautiful expression of the Bunnahabhain 12 years. Coming from a single ex-oloroso sherry cask, the flavours are pronounced. I am definitely buying more than 1 bottle of this whisky!”