Bunnahabhain has large stills which are only filled to 58% of their capacity, which gives the whisky its signature light style, evident in the 18 year old. Aged in sherry casks.
Appearance: Auburn/last minute of a sunset. A viscous film forms with many thick legs creating a corrugated coating around the circumference of the glass. The swirl line is a series of teardrops.
Nose: Heavy on the dark fruits, be chocolate and salted nuts. There’s a slight salinity/coastal element too.
Honey roast peanuts and reduced red fruit with icing sugar.
There’s a touch of tobacco and dusty bookshelves. The slightest hint of sulphur.
It’s a beautifully balanced dram, it carries the ABV really well, but it’s evident enough to play is part nicely.
As the glass matures there are some more mellow aromas such as custard and honey.
Palate: a semi viscous mouthfeel. Lighter than I would have imagined. Very friendly and sweet. Vanilla, honey, red apple and mixed berries. A light sweet smoke envelopes everything but without interfering with the individual flavours.
Some spice mingles about at the back of the throat, black pepper, aniseed and cinnamon.
There’s a watery element here, not ‘watered down’ but more a freshness that follows the other flavours.
Barrel char and wood spice/tannic notes appear after a little time, adding balance.
Finish: Short to medium. The sweet berries and barrel notes linger longest. The smoke is there, but ever so light. There’s a chilli tingle on the tongue too.
Overall: It’s a really lovely and well-balanced whisky, add it should be. There are very few whiskies that I’d part over £100 for and, unfortunately, this isn’t one of them.
It doesn’t offer the incredible experience that a £120+ whisky needs to deliver.
The mouthfeel isn’t luxurious enough and there’s no ‘wow factor for me.