Saturday, August 13, 2011

Whisky of the Month (August 2011): Bunnahabhain: Old Series

SGwhisky's Whisky of the Month (August 2011): Bunnahabhain

In the euphoria of National Day week, SGwhisky will be starting our three part series of the August segment of the whisky of the month by highlighting what is now the 'Old' Range of Bunnahabhain whiskies. Earlier this year, Burn Stewart, owners of Bunnahabhain, unveiled a revamp to their brands, and that included Bunnahabhain. The revamp of the brands involved are largely bottled now at a healthier 46% abv, but at the moment, the older expressions (bottled at around 40-43%) are still widely available in the Singapore market. So for those trying these older bottlings of Bunnahabhain, here is the low down of their core range!

Name: Bunnahabhain 12YO
Distillery: Bunnahabhain (Islay)
Type: Single Malt Scotch
Age Statement: 12YO
Alc/Vol: 40%

Kicking off this segment is the standard 12YO bottling from the distillery. A salty and fruity Islay with little or no peat, this is a good way to introduce one to the world of Bunnahabahin.

Nose: Salty and fruity with notes of buttered crust, raisins, malt and a faint nuttiness. Intriguing and pleasant (21)

Taste/Palate: Oaky yet very vibrant and fruity. Notes of wine, plums and raisins with the teasing salt that is indicative of Bunnahabhain apparent too. Interesting (22)

Finish: Slightly short, fruity with citrus and lemon drop. Some malty notes too. (20)

Overall: Not a bad dram, lacks an oomph though. (20) 83/100

Found at: Auld Alliance, La Maison Du Whisky, Quaich Bar

Name: Bunnahabhain 18YO
Distillery: Bunnahabhain (Islay)
Type: Single Malt Scotch
Age Statement: 18YO
Alc/Vol: 43%

One of the most popular expressions of Bunnahabhain in Singapore, the 18YO is slightly stronger and also richer in flavour. Definitely worth a try!

Nose: Much more refined and rich, with the saltiness still around, but mixed with more sweetness, loads of winey notes and a pleasant winey sweetness. Some faint floral notes with gum drops, raisins again and vanilla (21)

Taste/Palate: Sweet and spicy entry with loads of oak. Butter, more plums now moving towards fermented plums, like ume (plum wine). Mid palate has notes of cinnamon, and light baked nuts (22)

Finish: Winey and rich, notes of sweet port, pronounced spice (white pepper), vanilla flavored sugar (21)

Overall: A more complete dram than the 12YO, rich and nicely balanced (21) 85/100

Found at: Auld Alliance, Quaich Bar, La Maison Du Whisky

Name: Bunnahabhain 25YO
Distillery: Bunnahabhain (Islay)
Type: Single Malt Scotch
Age Statement: 25YO
Alc/Vol: 43%

The older aged Bunnahabhain is far more pricey and comes in a nice smart wooden box. Let's see how this one goes.

Name: Very winey and sweet. Less saltiness, more fruity notes along the lines of preserved plums, cooked apples, grapes, some floral honey and barley. A bit too sweet though. (21)

Taste/Palate: Very spicy and buttery. Sweet notes of barley sugar and some light cream. But there is an overwhelming stale river fish note. Like stale water... That note just does not go away for me... (19)

Finish: A slightly more roasted nuttiness, buttered nuts, malt and a hint of smokiness (21)

Overall: Some depth, very interesting, but the off note hampers it immensely (21) 82/100

Found at: Quaich Bar

Name: Bunnahabhain Toiteach
Distillery: Bunnahabhain (Islay)
Type: Single Malt Scotch
Age Statement: Nil
Alc/Vol: 46%

The stronger Toiteach is Bunnahabhain's no age statement peated expression. As Bunnahabhain's core range is lightly peated, this would be interesting. How does this one taste!

Nose: Salty and smoky, some barley notes. An interesting grapefruit note tries hard to tie everything together, though it is still pretty fragmented on the nose (20)

Taste/Palate: Seaweed dominates, with notes of brine and maltiness. Develops with some sweetness of barley and licorice. Overall, still seaweed dominates. (21)

Finish: Pretty one dimensional with loads of seaweed again but this time there is a strong note of malty sweetness accompanied by an interesting hint of apple juice. (20)

Overall: Not a bad dram really, but in some ways a tad simple. Drinkable though! (20) 81/100

Found at: Quaich Bar

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