Tasting: Bunnahabhain Peated 8 years MacPhail’s Collection

Bunnahabhain Peated 8 years MacPhail's CollectionDram data:
Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Bottler: Gordon&MacPhail
Distilled: 2006
Bottled: 2015
Age: 8 years
Limitation: –
Casks: refill/first fill sherry hogsheads
Alcohol: 43%
chill filtered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour: white wine
The nose opens with fragrant and well-integrated peat smoke. Not too phenolic – somewhere in between Bowmore and the south coast distilleries. Behind the layer of peat smoke we’ve got fresh oak vanilla sweetness, milk toffee, milk chocolate, brown shortbread which work in harmony with the peat influence. Supporting aromas in the background are a pinch of salt, crushed shells and the (positively) dirty aromas I often get in Bunnas – a hint of oil and earth. This is a surprisingly balanced, multi-faceted dram for 8 years! The palate is initially light, yet velvety and mouth-coating on the arrival, thanks to the 43% bottling strength. Peat smoked milk chocolate, fudge, baked red apples with vanilla sugar covering and a raisin or two on top. The dryness on the palate grows on the second sip before it progresses into an even richer and darker, oilier mouthfeel. The light mineral-oily and earthy notes are back in the background. The medium-long finish is very creamy and velvety upon swallowing with sweet fudge, darker milk chocolate and light dark fruit notes, engulfed by a fragrant peat smoke note which sticks around for a while longer.

What a pleasant surprise! A dangerously quaffable, rich and heavily peated (yet very approachable) dram from the “ugly duckling” of the Islay distilleries. Quite impressive for just eight years in wood! While I would probably have preferred to see it bottled at 46% this is the entry-level range at Gordon & MacPhail’s and tailored to not overwhelm the palates of beginners. It is, however, a dram suitable not only for beginners – far from it! At roughly 35€ a highly recommended daily dram that won’t break the bank!

Score: 85/100
(Nose: 87 Palate: 84 Finish: 85)

Sample kindly provided by Gordon & MacPhail

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