Aug 202018
 

Bunnahabhain 18 y.o. (2017)

46.3% abv

Score:  79/100

 

Why?  Just why?  Who is vatting this stuff?  It pains me to write this, but it’s pretty simple really: It’s easier to omit than to subtract later or to try to overlook.  I would think that should be fairly readily understood.  To be completely transparent: Bunna 18 is typically my favorite 18 on the market, but I can’t recall the last time I tried it without finding huge dollops of sulphur.  It’s unbelievably frustrating to find such deep honeyed, nougaty fruit notes and have them chained to mediocrity (at best) by brimstone.  Please, please, please…leave those flawed and detested butts out of the vatting.  And if you’re sulphur-blind…well, maybe don’t be involved in the selection process for casks.

I probably sound like the Fedora-sporting sulphur police here, but I stick by what I’ve said in the past: if a malt is sulphured, it is flawed.  Sulphur via barrel management is probably the most egregious.  Don’t fill young spirit into bad barrels.  But there is also the issue of not letting your stills do the dirty work they were meant to do.  There is a reason they are made out of copper after all.  Run your stills slow enough to let the metal do its work in stripping out all of those off notes.

Okay.  To be fair, there’s not bucketloads of it here, but there is certainly enough to warrant discussion.  And…for me to debate the standing I hold this expression in going forward.

N: Big and almost cartoony at first nosing.  Sulphur by way of struck match(sigh).  Almost as if someone lit up at a windswept, seaside distance.  Nougat and honey.  Great dried fruits and whisky-soaked nuts.  Dunnage and polish.  Just a slight wine tang.  If you can get past the sulphur…nice nose.

P:  There’s a sharpness of burnt match again here.  And the sherry tastes young and sharp.  Kinda fights the age statement in a way.  Seems anachronistic.  Chewy toffee, dried fruits and scones.  Then some maple and clean oak notes.  Fruit tea and herbal notes.

T: With time the sulphur fades.  Thank God.  Still not up where it should be, but head and shoulders above the previous batch.  Though it pains me to score this one so low.

 

  – Image & words:  Curt

 Posted by at 1:59 pm

  2 Responses to “Bunnahabhain 18 y.o. (2017) Review”

  1. I haven’t tried this new label one yet. Years ago I picked up the Bunna18 based mostly on your excellent review. I went through two bottles of this magnificent stuff and it remains the best 18yo OB I’ve ever had. Then I picked up a third bottle of it… and it was an absolute hot mess. Never taken my chances since and now I have settled on the very dependable 12yo as the source for my Bunna sherried sea salt hit.

  2. Hhhhmmm, I have an unopened bottle of the 2017 18 yo Bunna so this is an interesting review. This bottling has been reviewed somewhat favourably on Whiskybase (86.42) and by Ralfy (87), but reviews on MoM from 2017 and 2018 speak to highly variable bottlings, so seems to back this review up. Maybe have to return this baby for something more reliable and wait a year. Too bad.

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