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Bunnahabhain: Tasting the softest Islay whiskies at 12, 18, 25 and 40 years old

By Miguel in Tasting , Featured , Bunnahabhain

Bunnahabhain is the most subtle whisky of Islay, with is unpeated malt it really departs from the peated consensus that rules the island. But don’t let this turn you down. Bunnahabhain single malts are among the best I have had and at the The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show I had a chance of tasting some very exclusive ones.

As I was in a real hurry that day, I have now added at home a few Bunnahabhain whiskies more that I really wanted to taste but I wasn’t able.

The Bunnahabhain Distillery

Built in 1881 by the Greenlees brothers, Bunnahabhain distillery is the biggest distillery in Islay and is now part of Burnt Stewart Distillers. Bunnahabhain is used in the Black Bottle brand which I think it is a real pity knowing how good their malts are.

The whiskies

Bunnahabhain 12 years old

“Smokey on the nose and peat on the palate. Very nice nose with a bold sherry profile”

89
Bunnahabhain 12 year
A very lightly-peated malt that serves as perhaps the mildest introduction to the Islay style.

Bunnahabhain is a single malt where floral and fruity tones dominate with the peat influence in the background. The main base for the splendid 'Black Bottle' blend.

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (90): more than average. honey, peaches, toffee, citrus, smoke.

Palate (90): powerful. peat, honey, citrus, wood, spices, vanilla, pepper.

Finish (88): longer than average. peat, citrus, wood.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Bunnahabhain 12 year with 89 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Bunnahabhain 18 years old

“Nice sherried Bunnahabhain whisky A bit oversherried for my taste but still nice”

88
Bunnahabhain 18 year
A smooth, slightly sherried dram with all the understated elegance one would expect from the gentlest malt on Islay. The epitome of Bunnahabhain's soft Islay style.

This dram has a cooper-like color.

Nose (89): more than average. nuts, cocoa, raisins, honey, citrus.

Palate (88): powerful, oily. honey, citrus, nuts, wood, cocoa.

Finish (88): longer than average. honey, wood, cocoa.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Bunnahabhain 18 year with 88 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Bunnahabhain 25 years old

“Marvelous! One of the best Bunnahabhain single malts I have had”

92
Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old
Bunnahabhain 25 year old is delivered in the smoked oak glass bottle but its labelling is on aged parchment and it finds its bed in an Alder wooden box lined with Hessian and closed with solid brass fittings.

This dram has a gold-like color.

Nose (92): more than average. honey, smoke, citrus, floral, spices, vanilla.

Palate (92): powerful, oily. honey, peat, fruity, citrus, salt, wood, cinnamon.

Finish (92): longer than average. honey, salt, citrus.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old with 92 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Bunnahabhain 40 years old

“Mindblowing subtlely good! This is bottled perfection. I need this”

93
Bunnahabhain 40 year
A long awaited 40 year old whisky from Bunnahabhain, a bit hit at The Whisky Show 2012.

It's limited to just 750 hand numbered bottles and features an intricately designed label showing off the history of the distillery that's signed by the illustrator. The tube is made from heavy wood and features a hidden compartment in the bottom...

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (94): more than average. floral, lavender, honey, cinnamon, candies.

Palate (93): dry, powerful, oily. floral, honey, pepper, wood, candies. Marvelous! One of the best old whiskies I have ever had.

Finish (93): longer than average. honey, floral, flowers.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Bunnahabhain 40 year with 93 points over 100.

Miguel says…

Ha! What to say! Mindblowing awesome drams all of them. At first 12 years old seems too subtle, even light but just give it time and learn to enjoy them.

Bunnahabhain 18 and 25 years old are simply sensational whiskies both on different themes; 18 years old is a massive sherry monster with a touch of peat and 25 years old is a delightful subtle dram with lots of bourbon and floral notes.

Bunnahabhain 40 years old is gorgeous but it is a real pity that such a great whisky is only available to deep pockets that may not even know how to enjoy it… #money sucks.



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