Review: Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Bunna 12 2.jpg
12 Years; Ex-bourbon and Ex-sherry casks
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Bunnahabhain (Port Askaig, Scotland)

Non-chill filtered, natural colour Islay malt - this bottle is perhaps famous for going against the trend, re-introduced a few years ago with an increased ABV and a stopping of chill filtering this bottle. Everyone loved the move. About 30% of the casks are ex-sherry.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

What a rich, wonderful whisky. The nose is full of sherry, dark fruits, nuts, lemon peel, and a rich vegetal underlying character of peat and light wisps of smoke. The palate is rich, and full of marvelous rancio. Spice, dried fruit (prune, raisins, and currants including dried papaya and mango), and some great earthiness. It’s rare to find such a sharp concentration of dried fruits. The finish is rich, sweet – and a wonderful mix of fruit, nuts, vegetal notes (peat), light ash, and spice – malt emerges quite pleasantly towards the end as well. I quite love the 18 year old – this is terrific, also. The finish carries on, nicely. I love this whisky.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, nearly high, at $90. If Scotch was the only whisky category, this might be higher against the market.

Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 1689597L5 13:53 17199

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Similar to above, but I’m noticing more licorice, rich spices, and oak. The palate is rich and full of a great sherried character and a malt which has loads of richness to it – and lots of milk chocolate. The finish has a touch of spice, chocolate, and dark stale spices. The above tasting notes, hold, too. Excellent!

I generally keep this in my cabinet as an example of a good accessible malt with a nice, rich, sherry influence.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Decent. As far as Scotch whiskies go, it’s on the higher side of value – but on the side of whisky as a hole including cheaper competitors from Ireland and Canada – you can do a bit better.