Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old Scotch – Review

Bunnahabhain ScotchBunnahabhain 12 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

92.6 Proof

Price Point: $45 – $55 for 750 ML

Distiller: The Bunnahabhain Distillery Company



Islay Scotches have a heck of a lot to offer.  Pick up a bottle of Ardbeg 10 Year Old, and you’ll get a mouthful of smoke.  Try out a dram of Laphroaig 10 Year Old, and creamy peat is in your future.  Discovering Bruichladdich Rocks will make you wonder if you know anything about Islay at all!

Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old is another of Islay’s intriguing whiskies.  It shares some the isle’s patented characteristics, and has some of its own unique traits.  Leave it to Islay to keep me guessing.



The nose is very similar, in my opinion, to Bruichladdich Rocks in that it has the trademark maritime Islay scent with a distinguishable aroma of bread (yeast).  It’s lacking the peat and smoke, however.

In the mouth, Bunnahabhain is bold and heavy at 46.3%.  It’s briny and salty, with a trace of sweetness – a true Islay at heart.  There’s actually a solid sherry influence, too which is sort of surprising.

Nice length on the finish.  It’s salty, almost requiring a glass of water to wash it down.


Rating & Recommendations

Bunnahabhain is a different breed of Scotch, earning an 84 out of 100.

It’s very nice, but doesn’t stand out enough to warrant a higher rating.  Perhaps the more mature expressions have more to offer.



1 comment

1 ping

    • Charles Shaulis on May 17, 2013 at 12:10 am
    • Reply

    Hello, Ryan.

    Back in February, I wrote you about the Islay single malts on my “Next-To-Try” list. I’d read some pretty interesting reviews about the various Islay brands and found it disconcerting to read an Islay whisky reviewer’s flavor profile that contained words like “band-aids,” “road tar,” and “smoked fish.” This was why I started my tastings of Islay single malts with the non-peated expressions, and two ounces of the Bunnahabhain 12yo served with a single ice cube in a cognac snifter was my personal favorite at the time. I enjoyed the malty sweet taste, which I found out later was due to a combination of bourbon & sherry cask maturation. Just what is with the Scots and sherry? The finish is what identifies the Bunnahabhain 12yo as a true Islay single malt. Look for the location of the Bunnahabhain distillery on Google Earth and you’ll see why you need a glass of water to clear your palate of the coastal salty tang. Even though I’ll probably not buy this Bunnahabhain expression again, the smoked oak glass bottle is distinctive enough to have a place in my “dead soldier” bottle collection.

    Best regards.


  1. […] been a little while since I reviewed a good old fashioned Islay whisky (the most recent was Bunnahabhain which is a little different than most whiskies sharing its island of origin).  I really enjoy […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.