Released in 2010, the Bunnahabhain 12 yo has quickly became a “classic”, one of those whiskies that can not miss in every malt lover’s cabinet (so it’s said by Serge and by a lot of our “friends of liver”). Bunnahabhain is simply the only unpeated distillery on Islay and the 12 yo is the entry level of its core range. We received a sample by Vinatis, a French beverage company that recently opened an e-shop in Italy: much appreciated, let’s taste it!
N: it’s suddenly very fat and pushy, probably thanks to a more than decent ABV. The intense minerality intrigues us immediately. Not a light hint of sea, but a powerful islander soul that scratches an otherwise velvety profile. We have gunpowder, some peat and iodine notes. We mentioned the extreme velvety substrate: indeed, the minerality is followed by buttery notes (croissant fresh out of the oven), raisins, overripe yellow peaches. Hazelnuts, oranges and sherry oak complete the picture. Nutmeg.
P: the entrance is entirely convincing: on the one hand a wonderful intensity can be easily appreciated; on the other hand some particular notes of vegetal peat stand out. Slightly toasted oak and loads of nuts (hazelnuts again). The nose hinted at a sweet palate, on the contrary here you can experiment a real bittersweet symphony (an inspired Serge describes it as a memory of cask Ale). We taste salted caramel, instead. The swetness takes the taste of stewed fruits and sultanas, again. Loads of sherry, here.
F: magnificient salty oak, raisins and dried fruits.
It’s a melting pot of different styles: dirty and sweet at the same time, complex but straightforward. It manages to keep a particular balance between the malt taste, the distinctiveness of the spirit and the casks’ influence (with the ex sherry standing out). The style is really unique. In the past we only enjoyed excellent independent single cask, but now we confirm that also the OB do not yield nor simplify the challenging DNA of the distillery: something that cannot be taken for granted. If only this quality would be the average standard of the entry-level bottles… And it’s also around 50 euro! 85/100, and just to drive you crazy with envy, on Sunday we’ll be at the distillery!
Recommended soundtrack: Cartridge 1987 – The Chase.