Rested 30 minutes in a Glencairn glass. Pale gold in colour with thick legs slower than the OB 12
Interesting, this is my fourth or fifth go at this bottle and the nose is far superior than I remembered. Pineapple and vanilla first come on strongly with barley sugars, crisp green apples and bubblegum on the second wave. I get a little peat and a slight meatiness here too but not the cured meats like the tube says, more like what you smell when you walk into a butcher shop, only sweeter. With the nose deeper into the glass, the alcohol is pretty strong too. Overall an uncharacteristically clean nose for a Bunnahabhain. Different and interesting. 22/25
At first the arrival is slow, give it time! Before long an intense candy sweetness appears, after holding the liquid in my mouth for a while, that sweetness evolves into pineapple, green apples and ripe mangoes. There’s also vanilla cream here and some lemon custard. Finally honey and white pepper make an appearance after a few sips. This is bottled at a higher abv, the alcohol is very well integrated and doesn’t burn at all. Overall a very interesting whisky aged in a respectful cask that really lets Bunnahabhain’s distillate shine and take on very exciting dimensions. 22/25
This is a spirit driven whisky so it makes sense that the drying, dusty hazelnut would make its presence known throughout the tasting at some point. It’s in the finale alright! It finishes mostly on citrus and vanilla with the hazelnut drying everything out gradually at a medium pace. 20/25
*it’s worth trying with a few drops of water, while the nose suffers from it, the palate gets creamier and has a better arrival, the flavours are more muddled and mixed together though making the whisky entirely too quaffable.
Presentation and value
Let’s start with value, while the bottle costs 50$ more than the OB at my local store, it’s still very fair for a 12 year old whisky with this presentation: un-chillfiltered, no added colour and an abv of 48.4%, you literally could not ask more of the people at Douglas Laing. While I’d suggest the OB first to someone looking to get into Bunnahabhain, I’d replace the Old Particular bottle first personally. I love that the cask didn’t take over the spirit and that it makes me pause to pay attention to what I’m drinking. The different flavour markers are so clean and easy to pick out compared to official bottling that just seem to muddle everything together for the sake of an easy drinking dram, old Particular really makes Bunnahabhain shine! 25/25