Bunnahabhain 12 Cask Strength 2021 55.1%ABV

bunna 12 cs

An annual-release whisky inspired by visitor cask strength tastings in the distillery’s iconic Warehouse 9. Matured in ex-sherry casks.


Appearance: Anodised gold, nice and shiny!
A thin jagged swirl mark forms, almost like a chaotic hairline crack.
A corrugated film of medium/thick legs encircles the glass, with many short teardrops and droplets.
As the glass sits, the hairline tide mark thickens as it seeps downwards towards the surface.

Nose: There is a decent ABV but overall it’s carried well. Lovely oak, barrel char, leather, honey, vanilla and cherry. A soft coastal element exists in the background too.
Stewed dark fruit crumble with coarse brown sugar and raspberry ripple ice cream.
Then a sweeter chocolate orange aroma appears.
As the glass matures there are BBQ meats and the sherry notes intensify. Cherries in light syrup and a very light struck match aroma.
For me, the only element that I’m not keen on appearing is more astringency.

Palate: A semi-viscous mouthfeel, pleasingly so.
The ABV is carried well on the palate too, maybe a little too well? It’s evidently a strong whisky, however, there’s no chest warmth.
A tad tannic, oaky and the sulphur element is stronger. There are also cherry lozenges and menthol.
The spice starts to grow after the second or third sip. String black pepper, lemon pepper and a touch of dried mild chilli tingle on the tongue.
The coastal notes are ever-present but overtaken and slightly obscured by the stronger cherry, black pepper and oak flavours. Not an issue, just how it is

Finish: Medium in length. Black pepper, cherry and mint. There’s a buttery note, but it fades fast. The coastal flavours begin subdued and fade quickly.

Overall: If you like Bunnahabhain then you’ll undoubtedly like this very much. It’s got a lot going on.
I really liked it but was a little put off by the feint sulphur and tannic notes. Although not strong by any stretch, they just didn’t make me love it.
I won’t say ‘no’, if offered a dram though! I reckon if I had a bottle, that I’d be very fond of it within a few drams. I have a feeling the more stringent elements might soften and dissipate as the bottle is consumed.

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