Thank you to fellow TWS member WDMC905 for these samples. I’ve had both previously and enjoyed them but at a very early point in my scotch exploration, such that I didn’t really have the skills yet to put words to thoughts/tastes. Very happy to have samples of two Islays gems to review side by side!
Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old
- Abv: 46.3%
- Colour: Deep Copper
Nose: Rancio, red sweets, bit of caramel, brine, coffee cake, espresso chips. Tobacco smoke wafting from far away. Plastic wrap.
Taste: Heavily salted caramel, oyster brine, caramel drizzled coffee cake. Hint of liquid smoke. Cashew oil.
Finish: Barest hint of smoke, salted cashew nut milk, brine, coffee cake, and coffee liqueur.
Conclusion: This is a pretty solid drink. It hits upon a number of different contrasting and complementary flavours, instead of being one note. I enjoyed it and for the price it’s a very solid malt. I do feel it is missing some oomph but as it stands a bottle would be worth it.
Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old
- Abv: 46.3%
- Colour: Russet
Nose: Little bit of Sharpie ink and some brine. Watered-down berry compote cooking over a smouldering coal fire. Rum raisin. Salty buttered popcorn. Cooked corn bread. Rancio.
Taste: Malty, subdued coffee notes as if I’ve come back to a cold coffee. Coffee cake. Quite drying. Oak and some sea spray.
Finish: Long. Nice yin-yang of Salty and fruity. Bit of strong vietnamese coffee. Farmy. Red liquorice. Warm buttered popcorn.
Conclusion: It’s definitely an improvement in refinement and complexity but not enough to justify a huge increase in price.
Overall Thoughts: I liked the 18 over the 12, but would not say drastically so. Both generally benefit from being 46.3%. For the price range I’d say both are pretty solid buys. Definitely not your typical Islays though.