When you think of the isle of Islay on the West coast of Scotland, the first things that come to your mind will probably be the heavily peated whiskies for which this fabled region is held in high esteem by whisky lovers across the globe. As untamed and erratic as the waves that crash against the island’s shores on windy autumn nights, typical Islay malts fill your mouth with an overwhelming smokiness of ashen, tar-like or medicinal nature. Obviously, these so-called peat monsters are not all that Islay has to offer. The fine lassies and lads of Bunnahabhain near Port Askaig in the Northeast take pride in introducing their customers to “the gentle taste of Islay”. While the distillery also produces a number of peated malts (mostly as travel retail bottlings for the Scandinavian market), their regular products – to which the Bunnahabhain 12yo marks the entry threshold – contain little to no peat smoke at all. Instead, they are mellow, deep and dapper. If the Ardbeg Ten were a forceful ironclad defying the raging tide with vigor, the Bunnahabhain 12 would be a lean sailing ship prancing upon the whitecaps with elegance.
Eye: Hazelnut brown.
Nose: Delicious! Imagine a fresh-baked pear tart with thick chocolate coating sending its mouth-watering flavours all over the sunny terrace of a picturesque seaside café.
Palate: A gentle malt indeed. Instead of massive smoke, we find roasted cocoa beans, self-made elderberry jam and delicious crème brûlée in the Bunnahabhain 12.
Finish: Long-lasting and good. Towards the end, the whisky’s fine complexion is complemented by a wisp of smoke and a pinch of salt.
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 12 Years
Alc. volume: 46.3%
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~45.00 Euro
More info: http://www.bunnahabhain.com/ (Website)