Review No.66. Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old

Bunnahabhain are an outlier amongst other distilleries on Islay.  That is because their core single malt is not peated.  I did not know much about this distillery when I tried this one apart from this and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  If you mention Islay most whisky fans will think of peated whiskies.  I also didn’t take much of a liking to their branding either, not that it is important, but the bottle design didn’t appeal to me.  The 12 year old is their core entry level bottle and I think the next bottle in their range is the 18 year old which comes at cost of £100+ a bottle.  They produce numerous non age statement bottles which I struggle to differentiate from each other.


Whisky: Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old Single Malt, 46,3%

Nose: Vanilla, butterscotch, cherry, candy, hazalenut

Taste: Hazelnut, salted peanuts, roasted nuts, cherry, forest fruits, chocolate, oak

Finish: Dark cocoa and nuts

Score: 3

Summary: I normally find it hard to succinctly describe a single malt unless it is boring and bland. This one has hazelnut chocolate written all over it.  This is so different to what I have had before, even beyond Islay.  The nose is luscious, there is hazelnut throughout and then the dark chocolate comes in towards the end of the palate and finish.  The mouthfeel is substantial too.  This is not a complex whisky but I rate it for being able to deliver distinct bold flavours so strongly and with confidence.


Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,

1 – not to my preference

2 – tastes fine but does not excite me

3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally

4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf

5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf


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