Whisky Advocate

Review: Duncan Taylor “NC2” Bunnahabhain 12 yr. old

June 25th, 2010

Not Chill-filtered and Not artificially Colored: that’s where the NC2 comes from.

This peated Bunnahabhain is a good one from the new group of releases, but it’s not my favorite of the bunch. (Stay tuned for more reviews.) Still, these new smoky Bunnies are popular (because they normally aren’t smoky), so I wanted to post up a review.

Duncan Taylor (distilled at Bunnahabhain), 1997 vintage, 12 year old, 46%, $88
More mature peated Bunnahabhain Islay whiskies are emerging (like this one). Indeed, tarry, peat ash notes are throughout this one, (especially on the finish!), along with nutty toffee, nougat, smoked olive, glazed ginger, and candied lime. Pretty even-keeled throughout, and not as medicinal and aggressive as its cousins on the southern end of the island. The smoke and layered sweet notes balance nicely. If you’re looking to ease your way into smoky Islay whiskies, this would be a good start.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 85

No Responses to “Review: Duncan Taylor “NC2” Bunnahabhain 12 yr. old”

  1. Louis says:

    If the least favorite of thebatch gets an 85 rating, there should be some really good ones in there.

  2. I cannot state this too strongly: if you are on Islay and have any interest in whisky (and should you be reading this, I suppose the latter can be taken as read) do not miss Bunnahabhain. Laphroaig is brilliant; Ardbeg is iconic but by extension astonishingly busy; Bowmore is wonderful, but if you are lucky enough to meet Robert Morton at Bunnahabhain there can be no doubt that this is the standout Islay whisky experience. In fact, I completed a tour of Scotland and 42 malt distilleries recently and Robert was the best guide of the lot. And he said, so self-deprecatingly, “I’m only a stillman.” By his example, we should be getting them all away from their spirit safes and taking tours. Thank you, Robert.

    • B.J. Reed says:

      And if you are lucky enough to own the 1968 34 YO Auld Aquaintance you are one very, very lucky person – Among my top 5 malts of all time.

  3. Steffen Bräuner says:

    Some really good Peaty Bunnahabhains out there, they were all distilled in 1997 and they bottled the stuff themselves under the name “Moine” (Moine = Peat in Gaelic, the word is also used by B’Laddich in their Mòine Mòr bottlings

    Personally I bought a few bottles of Wemyss “Vanilla Smoke” which tastes exactly like its name, a favourite of mine

    At Limburg samples of a Peated Bunna from a (heavily) sherry cask bottled by Jack Wieber came around me and I was unlucky it was sold out cause it was brilliant

    I heard rumours that Bunnahabhain sold all its Moine Cask to Signatory, wonder if anyone can tell if thats true or not ?

    I’ve also heard that another batch of peated Bunna was distilled with the name Margadale in 2005 (Bunnahabhain means “mouth of the river” and the Margadale is the river afaik)

    Anyway, I think that Bunnahabhain peaty style is a peated Islay malt that can speak for it self


    • Steffen, from what I learnt at the distillery, Bunnahabhain produces their peated spirit five weeks of the year every year. The peated expression is distilled for three weeks prior to the workers’ Christmas break and for two weeks into the New Year. Every pipe, tun and still requires a thorough clean before returning to standard Bunnahabhain spirit. Vintage dated OBs for Moine would make sense: they wish for their offerings to be a little more mature, perhaps. I would bet that some of the younger peated product goes straight into the Black Bottle blend. I look forward to trying some peated Bunna.

      • Steffen Bräuner says:

        I don’t recall seeing any peated Bunna NOT from 1997. DO you happen to know if they distilled peated malt since 1997 or just recently for 5 weeks a year ?


  4. David says:

    interesting, I had a bottle of the 1997 Heavily Peated from Bunnie last fall, quite a nice bottle.

  5. Red_Arremer says:

    What is the peat/smoke like? Is it like a peated speyside, Benromach Traditional, Connemara, Bowmore or what?

    • David says:

      It wasn’t quite like the Islays peats I am used to like Laphroaig, Ardbegs, etc, maybe a little more like the Benromach

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