A little later than initially expected on our shop - Bunnahabhain cask strength 12-year-old is finally here!
“Not all whiskies work at cask strength and many whiskies don’t stand up to full maturation in sherry casks. Bottling our 12 Year Old at cask strength intensifies the core characteristics of spice, cracked black pepper, cinnamon but not at the expense of our spirit’s character. In fact, it enhances it. The mouthfeel and texture of the whisky increases and it shows off the balance of the spirit and the wood, but in a more concentrated form. This really represents Bunnahabhain in a bottle.” - Brendan McCarron, Bunnahabhain Master Distiller
It was back in 2010 that Bunnahabhain’s owners Burn Stewart dropped the usage of colouring and chill-filtration and raised the strength of their single malt whiskies to 46.3%. This was a brave decision at the time, but thankfully the response from whisky fans fully justified Burn Stewart’s bold move - in the ten years to 2020, Bunnahabhain’s sales shot up 160%, a growth rate second only to Ardbeg for Islay malt whisky.
Under the stewardship of Burn Stewart’s owners Distell International, who took over in 2013, Bunnahabhain has taken massive strides, with major investment in the last five years to improve the distillery’s facilities. In the meantime, the revamped Bunnahabhain range has continued picking up international awards and releasing acclaimed limited edition whiskies from their maturing stocks.
One thing that’s always been missing from Bunnahabhain’s core range, however, is cask strength whisky. There’ve been several cask strength 12-year-olds bottled for Feis Ile, and of course visitors to the distillery have long been able to taste individual casks at full strength in Bunnahabhain’s Warehouse 9. Until now, though, official bottlings of cask strength Bunnahabhain have always been one-off limited editions or single casks, so this new release is the first ongoing core range cask strength edition of Bunnahabhain’s unpeated spirit.
We don't know the exact cask recipe for this release but just like the standard edition 12-year-old, Bunnahabhain 12-year-old Cask Strength features plenty of sherry casks in the assemblage - here’s the official tasting notes to whet your appetites even further:
Colour: Deep russet gold
Nose: Dark berries, citrus and toasted oak which gradually transitions to sweet vanilla and a hint of cinnamon spice.
Palate: Creamy chocolate, sherry-soaked fruit and a balanced nuttiness give way to cloves, nutmeg and a subtle sea salt spray.
Finish: A lingering sweet finish with cherries and a touch of wood spice.
A full strength celebration of Bunnahabhain’s unpeated house style, Bunnahabhain 12-year-old Cask Strength clocks in at 55.1% and of course it’s been bottled without colouring or chill filtration. A new batch of Bunnahabhain 12-year-old Cask Strength will be released each year, but so far we don’t know how big these releases will be, or how long stock of this great new Bunna will last. It seems very likely that this inaugural release will sell out pretty quickly, though.
Bunnahabhain 12-year-old Cask Strength’s arrival was, ironically, delayed - but now it's finally here, and we're delighted. Head over to our New Arrivals page if you fancy a bottle, and if you haven’t done so already, follow our Facebook page and sign up for our newsletter to be sure you’re the first to know about any new releases going onto our shop.