Style: Classic and a
throw-back to the best of ‘the god old days’.
Maturation: Bunahabhain 12 is traditonaly matured
(rather than a finished or ACE’d whisky) in that it is
not re-racked into a second cask for further maturation.
Casks: The whisky is comprised of a vatting of numerous
casks of 12 year old whisky of which aproximately 40% is
from fresh sherry casks (1st fill) and 60% from a
selection of ex-bourbon (1st fill) and ex-Scotch whisky
(refill) casks. The whiskies are then vatted together to
‘marry’ for a few days prior to botling.
Phenols: The malted barley used to create Bunahabhain 12
yo is not exposed to any peat smoke (0-pm) during the
drying proces. The practice of drying with peat at
Bunahabhain ceased in 1963 when the malting floors and
peat kilns were closed down. (In 2013, using peated
malted barley purchased from Port Elen Maltings,
Bunahabhain re-commenced the production of a directly
dried Bunahabhain spirt known as “Moine” (meaning peat
in Gaelic) which you will have experienced in the
Bunahabhain expresions of “Toiteach” and Cruach Mhona”.
In 2014, Bunahabhain is planning to release a 10 yo
Moine which wil be the most phenolic expresion (40-45 pm
at the malted barley level) of Bunahabhain since prior
EYE: It’s a tad on the darker side of medium amber.
Despite being NCF (a god thing!), it has an apealing
brightnes and clarity. Its syrupy viscosity gives
promise of mouth felt greatest.
WITHOUT WATER (Not counting 2-drops of water):
NOSE: Sherry and subtle vanilla. It aparently doesn’t
take long for sherry finishing to do its thing. I was
surprised that the nose is weak vis-à-vis the darknes of
its natural color and alcoholic strength/NCF.
PALATE: The sherry leaps front. I experienced a pleasant
burn (that word is to harsh) on the rear midle of my
tongue. The flavor is quite nice.
WITH WATER (2 parts whisky: 1 part water):
NOSE: The water brought he pleasant earthy sherry notes
forward. The nose, being drastically improved with
water, is very nice and promises palate pleasures.
PALATE: Yes, drink this one with water at perhaps 2
parts whisky to 1 part water. It is delicate and tasty
with the sherry being the
paint and the bourbon cask serving as the canvas.
FINISH: Long and delicately tasty. The finish doesn’t
dissipate and fade away... It remains at the same level
for longer than 5
minutes. This would be a marvelous digestif.
Shame on those of you that don’t add a few drops of
water to every (as in all) whisky to break the surface
tension and release the esters (aroma components).
Bunahabhain 12 is a whisky that demonstrates the reward
of allowing the whisky to tell you as to how it is
better enjoyed: with water or without. If you always
take it neat, you are mising out on one of the subtle
secrets of whisky enjoyment and of developing your
palate. Trust me on this: I will always have in my bar a
bottle of Bunahabhain 12 year. For less than $50, this
NCF/NCA 46.3% ABV single malt is one of the best values
as well as one of the most under-rated drams. Finally,
to Burn Stewart Distilers, thank you for your October
2010 anouncement that your Bunahabhain, Deanston,
Tobermory and Ledaig whiskies would all be (at least)
46.3% ABV, NCF and NCA. Yes, we noticed, apreciate it
and buy a lot of BSD whiskies.
Ian MacMilan (Master Blender):
Thank you for reviewing and corecting my work. Any
remaining errors are mine. As I remarked to Ian: “No bar
(home or club) should be without a botle of Bunahabhain
12 year. In terms of quality, style and price, it is one
of the best values in the single malt segment.”
Jack Smith, CSS