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Sunday, 28 December 2014

Bunnahabhain 18 Whisky Review!

Having previously covered the basics of Bunnahabhain distillery here , I won't delve into the details, but as a refresher, the distillery mainly produces un-peated or very-lightly peated whisky, with the exception of a few limited releases (such as the 'toiteach' , which I like. Very much).

The 18 year old is one of their un-peated standard expressions, and was re-introduced in a 'craft presentation' a few year's back, meaning they upped the ABV to 46.3%, and dropped the chill filtration and added colouring. They have applied a similar treatment to all their whisky, which is an excellent move! I just wish other distilleries would follow suit.


Bunnahabhain 18, 18yo, 46.3%, Islay, Scotland.
Matured in a mix of ex-bourbon and ex-Oloroso casks, proportions unknown. No added colouring, non-chill filtered. 

(tasted neat)
Colour: Nice deep, dark bronze. This should definitely be bottled in clear glass, to show off that natural colour. Lose the brown bottle please! 

Nose: Honey sweetness, dried fruits and light salt. Toasted nuts and sherry, a little dusty.

Texture: Thick & Oily, very nice.

Taste: Tiny hint of smoke, and a little salt, fades quickly into juicy apples & pears, light oak and boozy raisins (sherry). Surprisingly spirited and assertive for it's age, and very different from the 12yo, much less salt and malt, and more sherry and fruit.

Finish: Sweet & lightly salted nuts, sherry comes through to the end. 

Score: 3 out of 5.

Notes: The mouth feel on this one is great, thick and viscous, thanks to the higher ABV% and lack of chill filtration. Big, bold flavours too, although I can't help but wish there was more substantial peat & smoke in there. Initially reminds me of Bruichladdich's black art 3 to some degree, but with much less complexity, balance and finesse, albeit at a much lower price. 

I may be a little biased, given the name of this blog, but I can't help but wish for more peat and smoke in the standard Bunnahabhain's I've tasted so far. They needn't follow their neighbours and go the heavily-peated route, but a little smoke and peat adds an extra element of complexity to any whisky, which I can't help but feel may be needed here. 

This is still a great malt though, and well worth trying if you care to visit the 'lighter side of Islay'. Check it out here at a very reasonable price. Cheers!