Can it really be so? Is someone at the top finally starting to take notice of what the little people have to say?
It seems the entire whisky world has been clamoring for the industry to drop the artificial coloring and chill-filtration, and most importantly…to bottle the stuff at a higher abv, and it seems as though that din is starting to be acknowledged. Burn Stewart have helped lead the charge in the revamping of their line-up, which includes Deanston, Ledaig, Tobermory and Bunnahabhain.
This now standard beefed-up Bunnahabhain 12 is one to hunt for. Bunna is Islay’s sleeper. It boasts the lowest peating level (2ppm) of all the Islay malts and has long held a reputation as the mildest of the island’s drams. This sort of puts it in a different league, since comparing it to an Ardbeg would be ridiculous and akin to comparing apples and oranges.
Having said that…this is now a hefty dram. It is bold in terms of nose and palate, and the viscosity is unchecked as the oils are allowed free reign without chill-filtration. What you can expect as a result is a substantial and mouth-coating whisky. Of course this is admirable and a desirable quality, but really means nothing without a bouquet and flavor to back it up. Thankfully…this new 12 year old absolutely delivers on both counts.
The nose is fruity and sweet. Hints of banana are tempered with rich Speyside fruit notes, a gentle maltiness and creamy caramel. There is a tickle of peat teasing here and there and a drizzle of sherry over all of it. Something about this leads me to impressions of mellow rye as well. The palate delivers just a touch too much sherry, but I can live with that. The finish carries on long and pleasant with lingering dried fruit notes.
For different reasons, this will absolutely hold its own against the other Islay malts now. Vastly different, though bold and unique in its own right.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt