Burn Stewart

Review: Bunnahabhain Ceobanach Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Bunnahabhain+Ceobanach+1.jpg
ABV
46.3%
Aging
>10 Years; Ex-bourbon casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Bunnahabhain (Port Askaig, Scotland)

As with all Bunnahabhains, a non-chill filtered and natural colour malt. This one is heavily peated, though, and a limited edition - this batch 03 is the last of it, and it came to Canada! It sold out quickly, but was a very nice pickup for $100.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: no. 03

  • Bottling Code: P0 0 28L3 …17144

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose is smoky and a bit zesty, with a light touch of cacao, rockpools, straw, dried apricot, and lemon zest. The peat here is intense and very attractive – there is a dense peatiness about this. And to round it out, there is a nice sweet oakiness, mixed nuts, and malt. The palate has sea spray, smoke, earthy peat smoke, vanilla, light woodiness, and lots more minerality. There is a gentle sweetness to round out the taste, too. This really is up my alley…

The finish is long, smoky, and earthy. It has a nice briny component to it, also – capers and a touch of black olive. It’s more on the smoky side of peat, thoughout – but I like how the brininess and earthiness grows on the finish. The finish, too, is slightly sweet and dry which really balances out the experience. Lovely!

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

Value: Average at $100. If Scotch was the only whisky category, this might be higher against the market, and it’s certainly good against peated whisky options.

 


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

Bunna 12 2.jpg
ABV
46.3%
Aging
12 Years; Ex-bourbon and Ex-sherry casks
Recipe
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: Tobermory 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46.3%
Aging
10 Years
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Tobermory (Tobermory, Scotland)

Tobermory is on the Isle of Mull -  quite a gorgeous island. It is one of the oldest surviving whisky making distilleries, dating back to 1798. However, distillery has been silent for more than half of its existence – from 1837 to 1878, and then from 1930 to 1972 and 1989 to 1993. Burn Stewart bought it in 1993 and have worked to greatly improve the single malt.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

Some nuttiness, and dank spices and fruit. Lots of star anise, stewed tomatoes, brazil nuts, green fennel (the vegetable, not the seed) and woodiness – though it doesn’t seem directly oaky to me, more of a mixed twig sort of wood. I am not in love with the heavy licorice…it would likely appeal more to those who like this style. In some areas of the world, candy coated anise seed is quite popular – this reminds me of that – not to say it is overly candied, but the sweetness with the anise gives a bit of this sensation. Sticky toffee pudding. Very light farmy aromas. Sage. Dried ginger. On the palate, malt seems to come to the fore in a way that it was not present on the nose, and the 46% really shows off its benefit here. It is still quite vegetal – and herbal – with green fennel still having a good bit of presence. The light grassy spiciness that is present is quite nice – my favorite part of the malt. The finish is slightly spicy in feel, with some fennel, light oak, and celery leaf. Maltiness comes through on the end quite nicely. Tarragon. If I liked licorice laden malts, this mark would be higher – but it’s not my style.

Value: Average, at $67.


Review: Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46.3%
Aging
18 Years; Ex-bourbon and Oloroso Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Bunnahabhain (Port Askaig, Scotland)

Non-chill filtered, old, 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.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

Big, oaky, sherry lead whisky. Oaky on the nose, with prune, clove, dried apricot, old clove, orange peel, and anise. Big palate full of clove and dried fruits, but with the cereal presented nicely behind with a big wave of full-bodied malt and some lighter apple notes on top. A brilliant integration of sherry and malt. The finish carries on with light mixed roasted nuts, fig, oak char, light rancio, and dried apple. Very nicely done.

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

Value: Low, based on $126 CAD. But in some places you can get this at a much better price and value really jumps up.


Review: Bunnahabhain Cruach-Mhona Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
50%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Bunnahabhain (Port Askaig, Scotland)

Bunnahabhain was originally a filler for blended scotch whiskies, even distilling some spirit to be aged elsewhere off the island of Islay. However, now it is producing more heavily peated whiskies – many of which we see as single malts. The distillery has a number of large stills, which produce heavier whiskies because of their shape. Consequently, the character of the distillate is quite a bit different from the other Islay whiskies. Cruiach-Mhona means “Peat Stacks”, and was launched in 2010 as a duty free offering combining younger peaty whiskies and older sherry-cask whiskies (which originally were upwards of 20 years old! I’m not sure what is put into them now, but presumably they are also quite old). The whisky is bottled at 50%, non-chill-filtered, and non-coloured.


Review (2015)

  • Batch: 8

  • Bottling Code: P032853 L5 13:59 14097

  • Bottling Date: ~2014

Nose: Intriguing – reeds, dried apricot, light medicinal notes, biscuit notes with smoke and earth throughout, along with oak throughout the background. The earthiness is quite vegetal – like that found in potatoes, carrots, and lettuce – only without the other components of those vegetables. It’s sweet, and very lightly floral – vanilla, and honey. The main components – vanilla, smoke, and earth are working together but not that tightly integrated, and the nose dries out as it sits. Though there’s a lot going on, the depth isn’t quite there.

Taste: A bit acidic and ashy, with dried fruit and roasted lemons, and a touch of salt, especially on the finish. At the end, there’s a flare up of pepper, which fits in well. Reasonably sweet, as well. No flaws, here, but more complexity and intrigue wouldn’t go amiss. Tannins and spices are felt on the end with larger amounts in the mouth.

Finish: Fire blackened chickpeas, smoking fall leaves, apple skins, roasted malt, more vanilla, and a touch of tannins from the oak.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, based on $107.