Review: Bunnahabhain 12

From the very moment I started blogging I had made plans to include some video reviews as well. But I will be honest, I got quite nervous about it. What if people hate it, or I look like a fool. Let’s just say low self-esteem kept getting the best of me, and I kept postponing my first ever video review. But no more. I put all my insecurities aside and went for it! The only thing left was to choose a dram to kick things off with, and I decided to go with a classic (and a personal favourite of mine): the Bunnahabhain 12!

Bunnahabhain is a classic Islay malt, and when people thing Islay they often think of heavily peated drams. But that’s not the case with Bunnahabhain. They do offer peated drams (the Toiteach a Dhà for example) but their core product is this unpeated 12-year-old whisky. It’s bottled un-chillfiltered and with its natural colour intact. It’s widely available and affordable. And it brings some amazing flavours to the table. In other words, it has all the ingredients necessary to make it a perfect daily sipper.

Tasting Notes: Bunnahabhain 12
Stats:

ABV: 46,3% (92,6 proof)

Age: 12 years old

Distillery: Bunnahabhain

Owned by: Distell

Category: Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Awards: The Scotch Whisky Masters Gold (2015, 2018, 2019), The Scotch Whisky Masters Silver (2014), IWSC Silver Outstanding (2013), IWSC Silver (2014, 2017), WWA Gold (2014), San Francisco World Spirits Competition Silver (2013).  

Chill Filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Setting:

It’s Friday and the weekend is about to start. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time off this weekend myself, but I say cheers to the people that do! I decided to write my tasting notes before I film my first video review. As I’m aiming to go for a single-take style of review, and I don’t want to stumble all too much. I poured the Bunnahabhain 12 neat into my Glencairn and I find myself eager to get started.

Nose:

As soon as you start nosing your glass you’ll discover a full-bodied whisky, waiting to be explored, in your glass. Heavier notes of malt, caramel and vanilla are balanced out beautifully by lighter notes of apples, seaweed, and fresh mineral water. This nose is like a morning hike past a babbling brook, after having just enjoyed a hearty breakfast. A few drops of water brings forth a layer of burnt caramel, that goes beautifully with the other flavours still present.

Palate:

On the palate this dram brings its flavours in an even bolder method. An oily mouthfeel – that’s almost thick enough to chew – covers your palate with notes of dried fruits, nuts and several coastal influences. I always appreciate a good coastal influence in my drams and this one brings charred driftwood, seaweed, and a little bit of brine to the fore. The dried fruits and nuts remind me of a high quality trailmix, filled to the brim with sultana’s, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Despite all the bold flavours it manages to stay well balanced, and it brings a lot to the table without ever becoming overwhelming. A few drops of water add some herbal qualities to this dram as well, as I’m now able to pick up aniseed, liquorice root, and mint as well. Giving this dram even more complexity.

Finish:

The finish has an above average length, without becoming very long. Which isn’t a flaw per se, but I wouldn’t have minded spending some more time with the finish either. Salted almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts stay strong throughout the finish and an ever so slight note of liquorice pokes it’s head up as well. It remains full bodied throughout and the flavours a pleasant to linger on. A few drops of water increase the length of the finish, but the minty quality it added to the palate becomes more dominant as well. Which leaves me preferring the undiluted finish.

Verdict:

Today the Bunnahabhain 12 proved to me once more why it deserves a permanent place on my shelves. For less than 40 euro you can get yourself an integrity bottle, that packs a wallop of flavours. And it’s surprisingly fun to pour for friends who discard Islay Whisky instantly because they don’t like peat. I believe this dram is a fine addition to anyone’s whisky collection, and it’s a wonderful daily sipper that I know I can always fall back on when I can’t make up my mind about what to pour. With this one I know it won’t disappoint.

Rating:

88/100

Value:

B+

Click here to learn more about how I come up with my tasting notes. And how I determine rating and value.

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