Whisky Advocate

Review: Bunnahabhain, 12 year old

January 26th, 2011

Bunnahabhain, 12 year old, 46.3%, $53

The new version, at a higher proof and not chill-filtered. That helped — especially on the palate — with greater texture and more well-defined flavors. But the flavors are essentially the same: nutty, toffee, light molasses, vanilla fudge, with delicate fruit (citrus, dark berries) and a hint of brine and smoke. Very comforting. Extra points for versatility — this whisky will accommodate many moods and situations.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 89

29 Responses to “Review: Bunnahabhain, 12 year old”

  1. MaltExplorer says:

    This is a bottle I’m really looking forward to getting. Good move by Burn Stewart to bottle the new line at 46% ABV and with no chill-filtration. Would be nice if others would follow this “trend”. Well done!

  2. lockejn says:

    Lots of reviewers have mentioned a greater sherry influence in this new version. Any thoughts on that, John?

  3. JD says:

    I like the trend too. It’s interesting to watch… The whisky enthusiasts have started asking for higher strength and no filtration and the producers have been responding (at least, some of them have). I also like what John says about this Bunnahabhain, especially its versatility. I think I’ll give it a try.

  4. lawschooldrunk says:

    I had the old bunna 12 last night. love the mellow nose with that jura superstition mustiness. can’t wait to get the new bottling.

    Excellent move by Burn Stewart.

    Anyone want to trade the old packaging tobermory 10yo for the new…?

  5. Jason R says:

    Absolutely share the sentiment with trends towards 46% ABV and NCF. Exciting to see distilleries listening to consumers

  6. two-bit cowboy says:

    I consider the old 12 as one of the stable’s stalwart daily drams. Looking forward to trying this new one alongside the old.

  7. ps says:

    I too can’t wait for this one. Same with the Ledaig.

    • E. Meijer says:

      Yeah can’t wait either. Bought a bottle of the “new” Ledaig a couple of weeks ago. The extra proof, non chill filtration and no caramel policy now applied on this whisky makes it a lot better and worth the extra money.

  8. DavidG says:

    Is $50 the new $25 for entry level 12 year old single malts?
    although this does sound really exciting to try.

  9. mark davis says:

    let me get this straight, for slightly more money the customer gets ,less dilution and no chill-filtration? I hope this works so well that other companies follow their lead.

    When should we expect to see this hitting shelves?

  10. Mr Claw says:

    Absolutely GAGGING to try the new Bunny 12!!!

    The Bunny 18 has been given the re-vamp too. Would be interested to hear how it stacks up against both the old 18 and the new 12.


    • John Hansell says:

      I haven’t tried the new 18. I’m looking forward to that for sure.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      The old Bunny 18 was such a cracker. I hope they don’t screw it up with the new one. This new 12 sounds exciting but let’s not forget how bad Burn Stewart botched the recent Tobermory 15.

      • Jim says:

        I have been enjoying the “old” Bunnahabhain XVIII – a great malt IMHO and one of my most appreciated in my possession. I sure hope it doesn’t diminish in its new expression. I found the “old” 12 to be good, not great. I had a wonderful tour of the distillery in 2002 and was privileged to be able yo nose two older casts they had at that time. My memory isn’t great but I think they were from 1965 and 1973 production. The other fellow on the tour – I did not know him – asked what they might do with single casks of this age and the answer was speculative but suggested single cask bottling for some big event such as the coronation of Charles as king. I wonder if they are still waiting! Maybe it will appear as a William and Kate special bottling.

    • Luke says:

      Mr Claw, whence did you get news of the 18YO being revamped? Very interesting!

    • aw says:

      Tried the new 18 last night. Whereas the new 12 has shifted quite a bit in its flavour profile (richer, more sherried), the 18 has not. The 18 remains its elegant, refined, subtle self… but it is improved. I couldn’t finish my last bottle of the 18 @ 43%; too flat, lifeless, neutered, banal. The new 18 is a whisky restored to life, albeit in a subtle way. You bet I will be finishing this bottle! Burn Stewart have done absolutely the right thing by both the 12 and 18 – they’re very different from each other, and both are stars.

  11. sam k says:

    Seems like a pretty good price/quality ratio on this particular bottling. May have to get one, that is if our overly protective parents at the PLCB feel it’s worthy of inclusion.

  12. Steve says:

    Last October, Binny’s hosted a tasting of the updated Burn Stewart product line (NCF and higher proof). Echoing others, I was especially impressed with the Bunna 12 from a flavor for value perspective. However, the Ledaig was, somewhat surprisingly, my favorite that night.

    It will be interesting to see if there is sufficient marketplace approval of these changes to entice others to follow suit.

  13. Jewmalt says:

    The old version was a big yawn for me. This one at 46.3% ABV and non-chill filtered is lively and delicious! Lots of sherry influence and John, you’re right about the touch of smoke in this one. Going to pour myself some when I get home!

  14. George Jetson says:

    There was brief time about 8 years ago that the Bunna 12 was absolutely OTT and very high on the QPR charts. It was a widely held belief that this was due to a lack of younger whiskies in inventory and the average age of the 12 was more like 16. I stocked up on it then and it will be interesting to compare it to the “new” 12. I think Burn Stewart are a bit late to the NCF NCA party, but it is always good for the enthusiast to have a less processed whisky in the glass. I am looking forward to tasting the new Bunna 12 as some of their limited n.a.s whiskies lately have been very good.

  15. Jason G says:

    I just picked up a bottle of this last week and enjoyed it over Super Bowl weekend with some friend. Very nice smooth malt. Not a powerhouse like Ardbeg, but very enjoyable!

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