Bunnahabhain 12 y.o.

Bunnahabhain 12 y.o.060

46.3% abv

Overall:  88/100


Can it really be so?  Is someone at the top finally starting to take notice of what the little people have to say?

It seems the entire whisky world has been clamoring for the industry to drop the artificial coloring and chill-filtration, and most importantly…to bottle the stuff at a higher abv, and it seems as though that din is starting to be acknowledged.  Burn Stewart have helped lead the charge in the revamping of their line-up, which includes Deanston, Ledaig, Tobermory and Bunnahabhain.

This now standard beefed-up Bunnahabhain 12 is one to hunt for.  Bunna is Islay’s sleeper.  It boasts the lowest peating level (2ppm) of all the Islay malts and has long held a reputation as the mildest of the island’s drams.  This sort of puts it in a different league, since comparing it to an Ardbeg would be ridiculous and akin to comparing apples and oranges.

Having said that…this is now a hefty dram.  It is bold in terms of nose and palate, and the viscosity is unchecked as the oils are allowed free reign without chill-filtration.  What you can expect as a result is a substantial and mouth-coating whisky.  Of course this is admirable and a desirable quality, but really means nothing without a bouquet and flavor to back it up.  Thankfully…this new 12 year old absolutely delivers on both counts.

The nose is fruity and sweet.  Hints of banana are tempered with rich Speyside fruit notes, a gentle maltiness and creamy caramel.  There is a tickle of peat teasing here and there and a drizzle of sherry over all of it.  Something about this leads me to impressions of mellow rye as well.  The palate delivers just a touch too much sherry, but I can live with that.  The finish carries on long and pleasant with lingering dried fruit notes.

For different reasons, this will absolutely hold its own against the other Islay malts now.  Vastly different, though bold and unique in its own right.


Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

3 thoughts on “Bunnahabhain 12 y.o.

  1. Robert

    I got a gift bottle of this recently, which I appreciated, since I had been curious as to the supposed improvements. The Bunna 12 I’d had years ago was just not very good, so I have refused to buy anything from them since.

    Opening the bottle revealed the aroma I remember from both the old Buuna 12 and the old Black Bottle (which was pretty poor whisky). Tasted neat, again I got the same general taste, but better.

    I definitely get banana from bourbon casks (or even virgin casks?), along with some deep, dark sherry casks. I also wonder if there is a bit of rum casks, as I find something beyond just sherry in the flavor. A bit of water improves it noticeably, smoothing the jagged edges and making the different flavors merge into a very pleasant dram with a long pleasant finish. Much different from old version and quite good.


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