Monday, November 19, 2018

Whisky Review: Bunnahabhain Stiuireadair

Bunnahabhain is one of the Islay distilleries that used to have an extremely compact product line, much like Laphroaig. There was a 12 Year, an 18 Year, a 25 Year, and the occasional special release at a higher age. More recently they have been radically filling out the price spectrum, largely with NAS malts. Perhaps sensing that they needed something to bring in new customers who weren't willing to splash out for their more standard 12 Year, Stiùireadair comes in at a more manageable 30-odd euros.

This whisky was aged in first-fill sherry casks, then bottled at 46.3% without coloring or chill filtration.

I tried this as a sample from

Bunnahabhain Stiùireadair

Nose: rich sherry overlaid on young-ish green malt, vanilla, milk, orange peel, American oak, slightly floral. After adding a few drops of water the sherry retreats a bit in favor of creamier malt and a little more oak

Taste: sweet sherry with a fair amount of heat up front, clean malt in the background, becomes more bittersweet with a little oak towards the back, but remains uncomplicated. After dilution the structure remains more or less the same but with less heat, brighter sherry up front, and more sherry bitterness at the back.

Finish: thin - sherry, malt, oak

If this is meant to be competition for the OB 12 Year, it fails. It might be more overtly sherried, but it doesn't have the intensity or complexity to stand up. As an entry-level malt it may be more successful, but I'm still not sure it's a particularly compelling experience, even at that price point. Maybe if this was released at 50% or batch strength it would have a bit more to offer, but as is I would give it a pass.

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