Bunnahabhain 12 (Scottish Islay Single Malt Whisky: 12 Years: 40% ABV)

Visual: Darkened gold.

Viscosity: Lots of thick fast streaks.

Nose: Light smoke, rock and roast beer. Slight sulphur, turned earth and fruitcake.

Body: Very light front into custard and sea wetted stones. Sea breeze. Light cinnamon spice and sherry. Water makes lighter and more custard doughnuts and brings out rounded bready tones.

Finish: Light, fresh air and sea breeze. Malt loaf and malted drinks. Still a  touch of sulphur and yet becomes custard like again with water.

Conclusion:  We all know Islays reputation for massive force and peat.  So many may ask what the heck is this?  The understated Islay.  Still lightly salted and smoke, it brings in custard sweetness and fruitcake elements. Very light on the front it takes a bit for the flavour to develop, all in all happily defying the areas expectations.

Whilst I applaud the difference, the whisky does not quite make itself known for what it is, as some of the flavours are slightly indistinct.  You find the slight rockiness and the sweetness pulling against each other and losing some of their character in doing so.  It is as each part is put together well, but the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

Not bad, but not inspired.

Background: If not for Kilchoman opening up, this would be the last Islay distillery I needed to tasting note. As it is the delicious journey continues.  Islay has a reputation as the island that has the most challenging of the Scottish whiskies, though that is mainly the result of the Adbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig distilleries who all turn out beasts. Unfortunately behind these the lighter Islays tend to be ignored.

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