Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old


Spirit Name:
Spirit Type:
Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old (brown bottle)
Single malt
2, medal, silver icon
Islay, Scotland
Best served:
Herbecaous and grassy peat melds with soft fruit, honeycomb, chocolate and nuts
This Bunnahabhain 12 year old is the perfect example of an Islay malt that melds peat into the character rather than being dominated by it – a perfect example also of batch variation because other 12 year old expressions from this distillery have on previous occasions left me flowing peat out of my ears. This is hugely enjoyable, but also strangely unique in some ways with peat that melds rather than dominates – reflecting that perhaps Bunnahabhain are steering in a different direction, away from the contents that once filled its older style green bottles (I like the new “smoked oak glass” bottles, much more snazzy!). The new 12 year old may disappoint lover’s of the Bunnhabhain of old, or it may be a refreshing change. You’ll need to decide. 
Blind tasting notes:
Nose: Pungent, imagine crisp sliced granny smith apples sitting on a freshly varnished wooden table as a mild breeze brings peat and grass. Those vapours of varnish whip the nose, and cut through the more complex layers of fruit that now develop in the glass – crushed green grapes, pomegranate, watermelon and, here’s an old memory, prickly pear! Occasionally, shimmers of vanilla fudge creaminess calm the sharp vapours with notes of chocolate coated nuts (M n M’s come to mind), fresh fig, raisins, mint crisps, honeycomb (crunchie bars come to mind) and almond nougat (next time you visit an Italian grocer, ask for torrone and you’ll see what I mean… go on be cheeky, its almost Christmas). The sharp varnish notes fade as the whisky rests in the glass, which means all the lovely character is only interrupted by a permeating cereal note which glows of barley and crisp golden rice.
Taste: Breathtaking – immediately, there is a soft fruity sweetness that is quickly swept away by a cask driven dryness and lashings of beautiful barley that soften into a fleshy wine themed finish. Sweet fruit (semi-dried moscato grapes, fresh ripe fig, cantaloupe) glow brightly with honeycomb, but upon swallowing comes a surge of cask driven dryness (cocoa, wood) that is softened by fleshy grape and the whip of barley. The peat is mild, interlaced within the bright character of fruit, nuts and cask driven sugars. There is some apple hiding away there too.
Finish: Fleshy grape and winy notes emerge with the soft peat that has a herbaceous twist.
Would I have another dram? Yes.
Would I buy a bottle? Yes. 

Highly complex, peat melds with the other character rather than dominating 
With a new bottles has come a new style it seems, with peat now taking a back seat rather than a dominating role. This is a refreshing twist which uses peat in a very interesting way, but be warned that the peat in this dram does not leap out as it did in previous bottlings
$90 (Aus)

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