Search
Close this search box.
Scotch

Bunnahabhain 12-Year-Old

OVERALL
RATING

8

Whiskey Review: Bunnahabhain 12-Year-Old

Tasting Notes:

About:
Single malt, unchill-filtered malts and bottled at 46.3 percent alcohol by volume. Sold in a darkly tinted 750-milliliter bottle.
Appearance:
It’s almost impossible to tell the color of the whisky in the exceptionally tinted glass bottle. In a glass, this Scotch is substantially darker than the average whisky, taking on a rich, reddish-amber hue in the light.
Nose:
Hits the nose with a tropical scent that I’ve found a lot of in Islay and nearby whiskies. This 12-year-old’s nose is more forward with orange, citrusy notes but then quickly taking on an earthier, smokier oak scent with a touch of sea air. That more gradually transitions to a sweeter, earthy vanilla aroma with touches of sandalwood, pepper, and allspice.
Palate:
Eases onto the tongue with a creamy, malty, yet earthy vanilla flavor with just a touch of slightly bitter spices, almost like drinking rich, high-fat-milk latte with a shot of whisky in it and expertly seasoned with cloves. Meanwhile, it has a very gentle, but earthy undercurrent of peat that is easy to miss for its subtlety. That gentle, creamy flavor then swings in a much spicier direction and starts to tickle the tongue with notes of clove, allspice, pepper, and just a hint of cinnamon. Swallowing sends a very slow wave of spice tingles from almost the back of the throat all the way back up the mouth. That ends with what feels like a fireworks finale of highly concentrated tingling in the upper corners of the mouth and the very center of the roof of the mouth. Meanwhile, the tongue stays coated in that syrupy, creamy vanilla flavor and texture that kicked things off.
Finish:
Comments:
As someone who enjoys a sweeter dram with a lot of flavors along the way, I’ll bluntly say that Bunnahabhain’s 12-year-old was exceptionally pleasing to taste. Beyond the creamy sweetness, it had a symmetry and consistency between the scent and the flavors that I don’t often find, but, as a writer by trade, I appreciate when I do encounter it. And for that pleasant and consistent experience, it comes at a fairly affordable price. rnrnHowever, if you’re jonesing for the one of the Islay’s heavily peated whiskies that make the Island famous, this is not the whisky you’re looking for. It’s sweet, gentle flavor will probably leave something to be desired for those looking for a tipple of something peat smoky.

When you pick up a bottle of 12-year-old Scotch from famous isle of Islay, the flavor that comes to mind is typically an exceptionally smoky, peaty dram that’s as rugged as the island itself looks.

Bunnahabhain, however, has taken a different approach from its many counterparts on Islay, championing itself as “the gentle taste of Islay,” boasting what they say is a “dram that embodies the island’s more approachable side.”

After tasting Bunnahabhain’s 12-year-old single malt, they’re most basic offering, I can tell you the claim is absolutely true.

Founded in 1881, the distillery sits on near the northeast corner of Islay facing toward Jura and the rest of Scotland on the eponymous shoreline of Bunnahabhain, reportedly pronounced “boo-na-ha-ven (here’s Scottish actor Brian Cox’s pronunciation) It sits at the mouth of the Margadale River, and its name is Gaelic for “mouth of the river,” according to a booklet that comes with the bottle.

The 12-year-old is made with un-chill filtered malts, a change which apparently prompted the distillery to switch the bottle design from an emerald green color to a dark “smoke-oaked glass that hints at our flavor.”

Bunnahabhain 12-Year-Old

Tasting Notes: Bunnahabhain 12-Year-Old

Vital stats: Single malt, unchill-filtered malts and bottled at 46.3 percent alcohol by volume. Sold in a darkly tinted 750-milliliter bottle.

Appearance: It’s almost impossible to tell the color of the whisky in the exceptionally tinted glass bottle. In a glass, this Scotch is substantially darker than the average whisky, taking on a rich, reddish-amber hue in the light.

Nose: Hits the nose with a tropical scent that I’ve found a lot of in Islay and nearby whiskies. This 12-year-old’s nose is more forward with orange, citrusy notes but then quickly taking on an earthier, smokier oak scent with a touch of sea air. That more gradually transitions to a sweeter, earthy vanilla aroma with touches of sandalwood, pepper, and allspice.

Palate: Eases onto the tongue with a creamy, malty, yet earthy vanilla flavor with just a touch of slightly bitter spices, almost like drinking rich, high-fat-milk latte with a shot of whisky in it and expertly seasoned with cloves. Meanwhile, it has a very gentle, but earthy undercurrent of peat that is easy to miss for its subtlety. That gentle, creamy flavor then swings in a much spicier direction and starts to tickle the tongue with notes of clove, allspice, pepper, and just a hint of cinnamon.

Swallowing sends a very slow wave of spice tingles from almost the back of the throat all the way back up the mouth. That ends with what feels like a fireworks finale of highly concentrated tingling in the upper corners of the mouth and the very center of the roof of the mouth. Meanwhile, the tongue stays coated in that syrupy, creamy vanilla flavor and texture that kicked things off.

 

Aaron Knapp

All Posts
Search
  • Latest News
  • Latest Reviews