Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old


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whisky glass with ice


Type – Single Malt

Age – 12 Years Old

Location – Islay

Casks – ex-Bourbon & ex-Sherry

Price – £38.95

Taste Profile

Smokiness – 2/5

Fruitiness – 4/5

Oakiness – 3/5

Spiciness – 1/5

Boldness – 3.5/5

S&S Rating



Taste – 4/5

Nose – 4/5

Value – 4/5

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What do we think of this whisky?

Islay is renowned for its peated single malts. The smokiest scotches come from this island. While many of the distilleries here use certain casks to sweeten some of their offerings, the smoke is often a main characteristic. The Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old breaks the mould and it’s like having dessert course on the island, if the other scotch makers are your starters or main course. In other words, it’s sweeter and the peated notes are downplayed.

At first, with the nose, you’re hit with the smell of strawberry laces and vanilla custard. There isn’t really an essence of smoke at this stage. Bunnahabhain use ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks for this 12 year old so you’re bound to have sweet aromas.

The taste is also sugary and more of that vanilla custard comes through which the bourbon casks will certainly be influencing. You’re also brought malty grape sensations which is very moreish and smooth. Once the initial hit of sugar wears off, this is when the smoke comes in but it is subtle and in no ways resembles the big peated flavours of other Islay whiskies.

The finish is also very pleasant. You get raisins along with the oakiness from the barrel which you’re often left with from scotches. It also doesn’t dissipate quickly so you’ll remember that you’ve been drinking the Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old for sometime afterwards.

For a 12 year old single malt, this packs a punch with flavour and you’ll definitely feel like you’re getting your money’s worth with this one. Perhaps not one for the hardcore smoke enthusiasts who are loyal to other distilleries from the Island but it’s a refreshing change. For those looking to enter the fray of peated scotches, this is a fantastic option

Should I add ice or water?

It’s quite a sweet and full bodied single malt so a little water can dilute the sweetness somewhat but an easy drinker neat too.


What music genres pair well with this whisky?

Rock, Funk, Soul, Jazz

What album have we chosen for this whisky?

rock album

This is an easy to get on with type experience but it has a little Islay grit to the taste. It’s also smooth and therefore we needed to think of an album that ticks all those boxes. Lenny Kravitz’s Mama Said is just that album. On the whole it’s an easy going crowd pleaser with songs like ‘It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over’. This reminds us of the sweetness of the Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old.

It’s not all a candied experience and this matches this scotch, much like when the smoke kicks in. Slash, from Guns ‘N Roses, plays on the second track ‘Always On The Run’ which adds a bit of roughness from the rock legend. This is an awesome track with a funky riff that is quite memorable, much like the Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old. This is why we’ve selected this album to pair with this single malt.


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