As the picture indicates, Bunnahabhain is a 12 year old single malt Islay Scotch. For those of you not familiar with the terminology, Islay is a region of Scotland – the southernmost of the Inner Hebridean Islands to be precise. What this means for Scotch is that when you see “Islay” on the bottle, think of smokey/peaty kind of spirit. Depending upon the distillery, it could be a light smokey flavor or a deep and hearty smokey flavor.
With Bunnahabhain (roughly pronounced as “Boo-nah-HAHV-en”) it’s definitely the lighter of of the smokey/peaty flavors.
It’s the Islay Scotches that I find most interesting of the Scotches, because they are the whiskys that tend to be a little more unique in their flavors. An uneducated palate may not be able to discern the difference between certain Speyside Scotches with, say, certain Irish Whiskeys. But an Islay Scotch is quite unique.
What sucks is that we’re not going to be able to make it to the Islay region. The furthest west we will be able to get is Oban before we have to head back east to Glasgow. But I’ll lay out my itinerary for you all at a later date.
Meanwhile, I quite enjoyed this Scotch, and it’s easily my favorite that I’ve had so far.
A light wheat/gold color.
A light smokey aroma with hints of orange/citrus in the background.
The mouth feel was light and clean. It was not as oily and “chewy” as other whiskeys I have had. The flavor starts with a a bit of smokey mixed in a with a malt, but not too much. This quickly gives way to a subtle ginger/pepper taste that is quite nice, and a little bit of a briny/savory taste hanging out as well.
The finish is pleasant, decrescendo-ing quickly but purposefully. What I mean by that is that some whiskeys finishes come to a quick and abrupt stop. Bunnahabhain does not fall into that class, but neither does it have an extended finish.
A very nice drink indeed. A good starting point for those wanting to explore the more peat driven Scotches out there.
Here’s where it ranks on my list of preference.
Bushmills Black Bush
Bunnahabhain – 12 yr old.
The Macallan – 18 yr old
Centennial Premium Rye 10 Years Old