Bottled to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the distillery. Classic Bunnahabhain-toffeed and quite nutty. Almost rummy in nature, with rich molasses notes throughout and layers of sweetness. Some salt emerges on occasion, as do notes of honey, coconut, and candied fruit, with a pleasingly dry, gently spicy finish to round everything out. Surprisingly youthful for its age, nicely balanced, and very drinkable. A great Bunnahabhain!
The nose is nutty and yields sweet sherry, Jaffa orange, old leather, instant black coffee, and a suggestion of ozone. The palate is oily and textured, with more sherry, dried fruits, nutmeg, and dark chocolate. The finish lingers with brine and pepper.
Duncan Taylor (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 36 year old 1967 vintage, 40.2%
Single Malt Scotch | $160
Older expressions of this unpeated Islay dram are often quite delicious, but they aren't easy to come by. The best ones, like this one, take the sweetish toffee/nutty foundation of younger expressions and add layers of depth and complexity. This whisky just continues to evolve on the palate. The entrance is creamy in texture with layers of sweetness (caramel, vanilla fudge, toffee), becoming nutty and marzipan-like with subtle background fruit. The finish is long and pleasingly dry, with a hint of salt. Very entertaining and satisfying.
Nougat and dates to the fore, then becoming increasingly nutty with suggestions of Demerara rum and cinnamon and underlying polished leather. Lovely dried spice notes and an appetizing salty tang teases the palate on the finish.
Signatory (distilled at Bunnahabhain) cask #2540 27 year old 1978 vintage, 54.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $200
Very fragrant on the nose, and thick on the palate. The flavors are chock full of thick chewy toffee, chocolate fudge, roasted nuts, burnt raisin, black currant, and spiced oak. There’s a hint of salt and Earl Grey tea on the finish. Very dynamic.
Distilled in 1969, the oldest Bunnahabhain ever released was matured in second-fill sherry butts. The nose yields sweet resin, marzipan, ginger, glacé cherries, a hint of cloves, and red berries. The silky palate features Jaffa oranges, dark chocolate, prunes, and more glacé cherries. The finish dries steadily, with slightly bitter tea, white pepper, a savory note, and quite subtle oak tannins for a dram of this vintage. (198 bottles)
A no age statement Bunnahabhain destined to replace the existing 12 year old, matured in first and second-fill sherry casks. Raisins, fruit spice, furniture polish, and roasted nuts on the nose, along with an edge of brine. Rich and full-bodied in the mouth, with malt, sweet sherry, and cotton candy, plus cloves and a sprinkling of sea salt. The finish offers red berries, lively spice, and dark chocolate. £40
The nose is fresh, with sea salt, tangerines, and light smokiness. Vanilla, sultanas, malt, a hint of sherry, hazelnuts, and woodsmoke are present on the oily palate. Lingering in the finish, with salt and drying smoke.
Spicy sultanas, greengage plums, toffee, and new leather on the nose. Damsons, prunes, black pepper, mint, and old oak on the palate. The finish is musky, slightly smoky, with fruit spices, dark chocolate, licorice, and tannic oak. An intriguing take on Bunnahabhain. (1,260 bottles)
Toiteach A Dhà means ‘smoky two’ in Gaelic and follows the previously released Toiteach. The nose opens with aromatic smoke and brine, while red berries, caramel, nutmeg, and cloves develop. Significantly greater sherry wood influence on the palate compared to the last version, plus Jaffa oranges, pipe tobacco, nougat, cloves, black pepper, and smoked fish. Medium to long in the finish, with drying sherry, oak, pepper, salt, and dark chocolate.
The Whisky Exchange (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 16 year old, 55.6%
Single Malt Scotch | $114
Smoky! Can you get dessert seaweed? Because that’s what this smells of. Candied ginger notes alongside a distinct salinity—think winkles—and in time a hint of verjus, even lanolin with water. The palate shows balanced smoke, paprika, then white pepper. The best smoky Bunna’ I’ve come across, showing maturity, balance, and no rubberiness. In time, there’s notes of old (refill) sherry cask. Released for the 2014 London Whisky Show but still commercially available. £75
Bunnahabhain 2008 Mòine Bordeaux Red Wine Cask Matured, 58.1%
Single Malt Scotch | $95
Bunnahabhain has been marketing batches of peated spirit under the Mòine banner since 2004, and this example is the first to have been fully matured in Bordeaux red wine casks. Damp peat, sweet antiseptic, and subtle raspberry aromas. Lots of red berry notes on the palate, backed by milky coffee, peat, and vanilla. Black pepper and berry fruits in the smoky finish.
Duncan Taylor (distilled at Bunnahabhain) cask #7020 39 year old, 40.5%
Single Malt Scotch | $420
There have been several lovely older expressions of Bunnahabhain over the past decade, and this is one of them. The vanilla cream and toffee nuttiness is balanced perfectly by polished oak, bright fruit (apricot, sultana, cherry pits), and subtle anise. There’s a calming quality to this whisky that is very more-ish. All the maturity of an older whisky without the tired, dominating oak.
This limited-edition Bunnahabhain was aged in sherry casks until 2011, when it was transferred into first-fill Pedro Ximénez sherry butts. The nose offers leathery sherry, red berries, ozone, and a little black pepper. Rich, sweet fruit notes on the palate; overt sherry, plus toffee, dark chocolate, and a hint of background salt. Cinnamon, honey, and raisins in the long finish. (2,154 bottles for U.S.)
Exclusive Malts (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 26 year old 1987 Cask # 2784, 47.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $230
Peated whiskies definitely have a dropping off point where they become too old and tired, and the nose for this one would indicate it’s past its prime, with gravel, rubbery smoke, and raisin. On the palate it’s a different story, as ashy smoke combines with raisin and rancio, turning the peat age detriment into an asset. Strangely alluring, it’s like sitting on a park bench next to a weathered old man who ends up having a real tale to tell. (U.S. only)
Bunnahabhain Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish 15 year old, 54.3%
Single Malt Scotch | $99
This was matured in second-fill sherry casks and then spent 3 years in first-fill Pedro Ximénez butts. The nose features fruit and nutty milk chocolate, fudge, sultanas, and mixed candied peel. Lush, sweet sherry on the palate, with a carryover of fudge and sultanas from the nose. Long in the nutty, spicy finish, which offers nutmeg and peppery oak. (5,000 bottles)
Dried peat smoke, a papery column of cigar ash, sizzling bacon fat, baked earth, and a shower of sea spray, coupled with hints of fresh peach and ripe fruits. The palate has a light, oily consistency ingrained with smokiness throughout, tasting of vanilla toffee, pick ‘n’ mix foam bananas, tangy citrus, and sweet tropical fruits, the whole arrangement given a peppery lift before succumbing to a late nuttiness. It’s not named after the Gaelic for smoky for nothing, you know.
The MacPhail’s Collection 8 year old (distilled at Bunnahabhain), 43%
Single Malt Scotch | $45
Heavily peated Bunnahabhain spirit, referred to as Margadale, was used for this bottling and matured in refill sherry butts. Savory on the nose, with smoky brine, plain chocolate, and Granny Smith apples. The palate offers similar green apple notes, along with sweet peat, cocoa, and licorice. Wood smoke and pipe tobacco in the medium-length finish.
Duncan Taylor (distilled at Bunnahabhain) Rare Auld Range 1987 vintage 24 year old, 55.7%
Single Malt Scotch | $135
Full gold in color, this Bunna initially has the lifted Moscatel aroma that’s reminiscent of a fine Darjeeling leaf tea, then comes melting milk chocolate and touches of sweet cinnamon toast. The palate continues in this sweet vein, but has the distillery’s characteristic thickness in the mid-palate, as well as plenty of its signature fresh ginger note. With water, there are some baked fruits and a hint of flowers. Altogether delicious and subtly complex.
One of six whiskies released in Distell’s first Malt Collection. This received a secondary maturation of almost 2 years in Palo Cortado casks, rarely used for Scotch whisky. Melon slices sprinkled with salt, vanilla, and finally, peach blossom on the nose. More peaches on the spicy palate, with milk chocolate and oak. Peppery in the medium-length finish, with aniseed. (1,644 bottles)
Here’s an Islay distillery which has never quite had the investment it deserves. Hopefully this limited release is the start of an addressing of that situation. It has a classic nose with ginger (crystallized) to the fore alongside toasted almond and the balsamic note that you sometimes get with extra-mature whiskies, manifested here as mulberry vinegar. The mouth has coconut, some grip, and — though it fades a little speedily — retained fire. Take with water on the side. £1,999
This expression includes young, heavily-peated Bunnahabhain matured in bourbon barrels, mixed with 20 to 21 year old spirit aged in sherry butts. Fragrant, peppery peat on the early nose, brine and fabric Band-Aids. Ultimately, leathery orange. Smooth and supple on the palate, with intense, smoky fresh fruit giving way to quite dry spices. The relatively long finish yields drying peat, plain chocolate, and developing licorice. £80
Douglas Laing Old Particular (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 17 year old, 48.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $110
Rich gold. Here we have a good example of Bunna’ in full ‘welcome home to a warm house after a cold walk’ mode. Warm, sweet, steamy, with a light mineral note, dried fruit, walnut, and that giveaway gingerbread signature. The palate is clean, spicy, and drier than the nose suggests, but has a soft center. A lovely dram for a chill summer evening. £75
Clan Denny 10 year old (distilled at Bunnahabhain), 46%
Single Malt Scotch | $59
The nose gives off gentle sea breezes, earthy and nutty aromas, then cocoa powder. Pineapple, toffee, and milk chocolate on the palate, with a suggestion of brine. Nutty in the finish, with white pepper and lingering lemon. (367 bottles)
Bunnahabhain Westering Home 17 year old Feis Ile 2014 bottling, 52.9%
Single Malt Scotch | $421
Matured in cognac before being finished in Sauternes; here we have a clean, sweet, and well-rounded Bunna’, with hickory-like smoke, bonfire, and ginger biscuits. Lightly vegetal notes with farmyard elements among the smoke and thick, citric sweetness. Immediate smoke on top of this mix of spice, Seville orange, apricot, cheesecake base, hazelnut, red fruits, and preserved ginger in syrup adding an almost peppery finish. Lovely. £250
This is master blender Ian MacMillan’s interpretation of what Bunna’ would have tasted like when the distillery was founded in 1881. There’s light smoke, coming across like smoked halibut, a mineral edge, white fruits, and a freshness like a freshly starched shirt. Water brings out almond. On the palate, the smoke offers a slightly peppery, almost Talisker-esque kick. Light lemon and sweet fruits in the center. Though there’s no age statement, none of the whiskies are under 10 years. £46
Cadenhead’s (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 2005, 57.2%
Single Malt Scotch | $110
Initially very ozonic, fresh, and marine. So much so that you don’t notice the smoke which is slowly building. Everything is very restrained, some cold-smoked fish, mineral, and—in time—a hint of the mash tun. That mineral note continues on the palate, which broadens into ginger nuts in the middle of the tongue. All very well-balanced, and at its best neat.
Duncan Taylor (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 1997 vintage 12 year old, 46%
Single Malt Scotch | $88
More mature peated Bunnahabhain Islay whiskies are emerging (like this one). Indeed, tarry, peat ash notes are evident throughout this one (especially on the finish!), along with nutty toffee, nougat, smoked olive, glazed ginger, and candied lime. Pretty even-keeled, not as medicinal and aggressive as its cousins on the southern end of the island. The smoke and layered sweet notes balance nicely. If you’re looking to ease your way into smoky Islay whiskies, this would be a good start.
Adelphi (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 1989 25 year old, 45%
Single Malt Scotch | $265
Pale gold, with nettles and green apple on the nose alongside almond, light bread crust, and freshly-baked sponge cake. In time, there’s Starburst sweets. Some heat, even at this relatively low strength. There are mineral accents and, with water, the signature ginger. The palate is very sweet and soft with jelly fruits. Clean and supple, especially with water. Zesty, with a refreshing acidic balance.
Some single malts just suit specific cask types. Such is the case with Bunnahabhain and sherry. The spirit has a soft and nutty undertow, plus a gingery note that is given weight and depth by the cask. Amontillado, with its nuttier character, is an ideal bridge between the two. This shows surprising maturity with more oxidized and mulch aromas alongside coffee grounds, and a character that’s drifting into meaty. Brooding, medium-bodied, slightly dry…but the price? Ouch! (Fèis Ìle 2016, 250 bottles) £250
Berry Bros. & Rudd (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 23 year old 1989, 46%
Single Malt Scotch | $138
Our second Bunna’, this is pale of hue with a surprising hint of salinity alongside a whiff of lemon sherbet, and an aroma like wet linen, while a floury maltiness runs below. Age however has twisted the fruits into the verge of musty over-ripeness. It’s explosive and spicy and, even though this is only 46%, it is hot. Water picks up the acidity before there’s a huge hit of warming ginger as the kiss-off. £89
Duncan Taylor (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 25 year old, 46%
Single Malt Scotch | $348
A stunningly lovely nose: all sweet, rounded, and layered with exotic tropical fruits, scented woods, wax, and perfume. Water makes it oilier and more waxy in nature. Sadly though, the oak has taken charge on the palate, making it more grippy and nutty. Worth a long sniff though! £228
Wemyss Malts (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 1991 Oysters with Lemon Pearls, 46%
Single Malt Scotch | $154
Light gold with a very fresh and slightly ozonic nose that brings to mind Thai herbs: lemongrass, galangal, as well as lime. Just slightly nippy when neat. The palate is equally intense, but with a central sweetness. Water cuts down this razor-sharp intensity, adding a softer mid-palate texture, while the finish remains slightly mineraly. A decent aperitif Bunna. £97
Wemyss Malts Kirsch Gateau (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 1988, 56%
Single Malt Scotch | $190
Polished rosewood. Big sherried notes, but also generous sweetness. Vermouth-like: dark fruits, a hint of spice, light oxidation, with some herbal edges and Morello cherries. Becomes balsamic. The palate is highly concentrated, with more cherry, but has this intense savory astringency. Water is needed. The nose continues to be remarkable, all damask rose and resin, but dilution can’t eradicate the mouth-puckering quality. £130
Wemyss Malts (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 1991 Thread of Smoke, 46%
Single Malt Scotch | $164
Yes, it’s another 1991 Bunna from Wemyss, so check the name when purchasing. This one has a distinctly smoky element alongside the marine note which they both share. Very light lemon, with water, then a hit that’s like walking into a high-class sushi joint. A zesty start with lots of angelica, and then sweetness with, when diluted, soft malt and light ginger on the palate. Rock solid. £103
Bn6 Elements of Islay (distilled at Bunnahabhain), 56.9%
Single Malt Scotch | $84
Very chewy. Think of melting Mars bars, with a touch of coconut cream, then red-fruit acidity, red cherry, and lemon. All very forward and sweet, but with no alcohol when neat, showing an active cask. Dilute, there’s coconut, pea shoots, and banoffie pie. The palate is thick with Jaffa cake (orange and chocolate), then nutty granola. It doesn’t take water too well. Quite fat. £50/500 ml
Single Malts of Scotland (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 25 year old, 50.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $206
Gold. Quite sweet and spicy nose. Light cinnamon and that distillery ginger edge. There remains a light cereal aspect to the background, but it is considerably more youthful than the age suggests. The palate is equally sweet and direct, with excellent spicy concentration. Water shows that there is some weight here, reminiscent of honey-nut cornflakes (with cream). The nose now hints at some oxidation, the palate retains peppery freshness. It’s another I’d have kept in cask. £135
Douglas Laing Old Particular (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 16 year old, 48.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $105
Light gold. Fresh and clean, with light draff notes. Cool porcelain, lemon, cereal husk. It becomes more expressive on the tongue, though it remains subtle. A bit of a stealth bomb because the palate shows plenty of spice, cinnamon toast, and baklava. The finish reveals some green notes. When you add water, it becomes incredibly minty. Fragile, but if you fancy a Bunna' julep, then look no further. £69
Bunnahabhain ‘Over 12 year old’ Feis Ile 2012 bottling, 54.3%
Single Malt Scotch | $94
Light gold in color, the roasted almond notes that start the nose show the influence of the amontillado sherry finish before your nose is filled with the contents of a spice merchant’s chest alongside, unusually, a light maritime note. Very gentle and clean in the mouth with sour plum and a generally amenable nature. More like this please, Burn Stewart! £60
Bunnahabhain’s peaty expression is steadily coming together. It’s been one of those drams that seems to need more time than many, but that’s true of Bunna’ in general, come to think of it. In fact, the peatiness is quite mild on the nose, adding some scent to the sandalwood elements and obvious raisined sweetness. There’s a slightly cheesy note in the background and a touch of sulphur on the palate. It’s not quite wholly integrated, but progressing well. (Fèis Ìle 2016, 833 bottles) £95
Bunnahabhain Moine Dram an Stiùireadair 10 year old Feis Ile 2014 bottling, 56.6%
Single Malt Scotch | $160
Stiùireadair means “helmsman” in Gaelic. This has been finished for a year in Marsala casks. The nose is all garden compost, moist vegetation, light smoke, and highly oxidized: like a young vin santo (or indeed Marsala). Very nutty, with an almost vermouth-like quality. The palate is all clove, anise, cherry stone. Those oxidized wine notes are so dominant it’s shifted the balance toward the finish. This particular helmsman’s somewhat off course. £95
Signatory (distilled at Bunnahabhain) cask #5279 1997 vintage 9 year old, 59.9%
Single Malt Scotch | $45
The owners of Bunnahabhain are making a peated version of this normally unpeated Islay whisky to put in their peated blend, Black Bottle. But they have not yet put out, as a regular item, a peated expression of Bunnahabhain for purchase. However, some of the independent bottlers got their hands on some, and this might be the first one to be offered in the U.S. It’s what you would expect a 9 year old peated Bunnahabhain to taste like: toffee, vanilla fudge, and nuts (the Bunny signature), kiln peat smoke, and a bit too much youthfulness. It needs a few more years to mature to acceptable levels. (Bottled for Binny’s Beverage Depot)