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Bunnahabhain - 18YO Islay Single Malt Whisky

$350.00
Sale price

Regular price $350.00

Bunnahabhain is targeting whisky enthusiasts with their story. Bunnahabhain doesn't believe in chill filtration. They don't believe in coloring their scotch with caramel. Instead, it's all about higher proof single malt scotch. For me, the less you do to scotch, the more likely you're tasting the whisky straight from the barrel. Naturally, you know I'm going to love it.

Despite the Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old being available, Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old is my favorite of their aged releases. The 18 seems to be the sweet spot of youthful whisky balanced with dark rich characteristics of a well-aged product. The distillery also has a series of No Age Statement (NAS) whiskies that successfully explore the range of flavor that can be produced at the distillery. 

Still, out of all these, I'll go back to the 18 year old. If you love sherry-forward scotch, this will be your jam.

Nose: Cherry, malasses, brown sugar bordering on caramel, and a wonderful sandy saltiness that reminds me of standing on the beach with a gentle breeze of salt water against my face. The brown sugar turns toward caramel, and the cherry hangs on. It's chocolate cherry cake, basically, where much of the nose comes from those baked cherries. The smokiness is distant, but wonderfully present.

Palate: The palate is best described as a multi-course meal. This whisky doesn't rush the first course of the palate. The rich sherry creaminess hangs much longer than most. Cinnamon spice, dark chocolate, and a lovely fattiness moves through the middle of the palate (the second course!). The barley shines through the middle of the profile despite all these intense flavors. We move toward caramel peppery spice toward the finish (third course). That finish never does leave, and it's wonderfully dry. A layer of it compliments the second and third pour.

Conclusion: This Bunny 18 runs through my palate perfectly, and I'm not always a fan of sherry bombs. Some sherry bombs tend to get overly sweet. This one is intense, beautifully deep with flavour, and pushes a flavour profile I didn't think was possible. Just when I think it's getting "too sweet,” the spice hits you. Just when I think it's about to go overly spicy, the dryness settles in. With all the layers, this is a true "sipping by the fireplace" whisky. I'd share this, but I'd rather drink it in silence on my own, lost in the whisky itself. It's a whisky deserving of that much attention.

 

--------THE PRODUCER--------

Bunnahabhain

Bunnahabhain’s distillery date back to 1881 and is an important part of the island’s history. From 1881 to today, their whisky has always been made with quality malted barley, clean, pure Margadale spring water and a bit of yeast. Bunnahabhain’s location is an influencing factor of their whisky’s taste. Bunnahabhain’s location benefits from having the breath of the bold sea on one side and the pure spring water of the Margadale River on the other side. Their whiskies have a unique approachable and welcoming taste which is mellow due to their minimal peating.

The best place to start when you are pairing food and wine is to think about the structural elements of both the food and wines. These elements are: sweetness, acidity, bitterness, umami, chilli heat and fat.

We have listed these elements in foods and how you can add wines with similar or contrasting elements to help create harmony in your matches.

Sweetness 

Sweet foods can overpower dry wines, white or red, making them appear acidic, neutral or bitter. In order to reduce this effect you should pair sweet foods with sweet wines. 

Acidity

Acidic foods, like fresh citrus, tomatoes or salads laden with vinaigrettes, will overpower the acidity in a wine making them appear flabby or less acidic than they were. In order to reduce this effect you should pair acidic foods with wines that have a higher acidity such as Champagne, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Acidity is a key element in creating balance in a dish or a food-and-wine match. If the foods are going to reduce the acidity in the wines then you need to add your own bit of acidity by bringing a more acidic wine to the table. It is the same principle behind adding lemon juice to seafood dishes, as seafood tends to have quite low natural acidity.

Bitterness

If a food is high in bitterness then it will make the wine appear bitter, or it will increase the perception of bitterness (tannins) in the wine. In order to reduce this effect you should pair bitter foods with wines that are not lean with high acid.  Rather choose wines with some sweetness, fruit or viscosity.

Umami (Savoury)

Foods that are highly savoury, like mushrooms, will increase the bitterness or acidic perception we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair umami rich foods with wines that are fruity and do not have medium-high tannins. 

Often foods that are more savoury are best matched with white wines like Chardonnay or Soave as these do not big tannins but have lots of fruity flavours.

Chilli Heat

Chilli heat is similar to umami-rich foods.  They will increase the bitterness or acidic perception as well as the alcoholic burn we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair chilli heat rich foods with wines that are fruity and/or have higher sweetness levels.

Wines that are off-dry like many Gewürztraminers or Rieslings could work best with chilli foods like a curry as they will be both a bit sweet but also very fruity. If you aren't a white wine drinker then you could consider red wines that have lower tannins such as a Pinot Noir or Gamay Noir. 

Fatty

Foods that are high in fat will make the wines feel flabby and less fruity. In order to reduce this effect you should pair fatty foods with wines that have high acidity. This is similar to the rule of adding in acidity (in the form of citrus) to seafood to help to cut down the perception of fattiness.  

These suggestions (there are no rules that apply to everyone) will help you to think about how to create pairings. It often isn't helpful to think about 'red wine and red meat' or 'white wine and fish' because it is actually the structural elements of the wine and food that need to be balanced. It is the acidity in white wines that works well by cutting through the fattiness of a piece of fish but you could get that acidity in a Pinot Noir. 

Bunnahabhain is targeting whisky enthusiasts with their story. Bunnahabhain doesn't believe in chill filtration. They don't believe in coloring their scotch with caramel. Instead, it's all about higher proof single malt scotch. For me, the less you do to scotch, the more likely you're tasting the whisky straight from the barrel. Naturally, you know I'm going to love it.

Despite the Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old being available, Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old is my favorite of their aged releases. The 18 seems to be the sweet spot of youthful whisky balanced with dark rich characteristics of a well-aged product. The distillery also has a series of No Age Statement (NAS) whiskies that successfully explore the range of flavor that can be produced at the distillery. 

Still, out of all these, I'll go back to the 18 year old. If you love sherry-forward scotch, this will be your jam.

Nose: Cherry, malasses, brown sugar bordering on caramel, and a wonderful sandy saltiness that reminds me of standing on the beach with a gentle breeze of salt water against my face. The brown sugar turns toward caramel, and the cherry hangs on. It's chocolate cherry cake, basically, where much of the nose comes from those baked cherries. The smokiness is distant, but wonderfully present.

Palate: The palate is best described as a multi-course meal. This whisky doesn't rush the first course of the palate. The rich sherry creaminess hangs much longer than most. Cinnamon spice, dark chocolate, and a lovely fattiness moves through the middle of the palate (the second course!). The barley shines through the middle of the profile despite all these intense flavors. We move toward caramel peppery spice toward the finish (third course). That finish never does leave, and it's wonderfully dry. A layer of it compliments the second and third pour.

Conclusion: This Bunny 18 runs through my palate perfectly, and I'm not always a fan of sherry bombs. Some sherry bombs tend to get overly sweet. This one is intense, beautifully deep with flavour, and pushes a flavour profile I didn't think was possible. Just when I think it's getting "too sweet,” the spice hits you. Just when I think it's about to go overly spicy, the dryness settles in. With all the layers, this is a true "sipping by the fireplace" whisky. I'd share this, but I'd rather drink it in silence on my own, lost in the whisky itself. It's a whisky deserving of that much attention.

 

--------THE PRODUCER--------

Bunnahabhain

Bunnahabhain’s distillery date back to 1881 and is an important part of the island’s history. From 1881 to today, their whisky has always been made with quality malted barley, clean, pure Margadale spring water and a bit of yeast. Bunnahabhain’s location is an influencing factor of their whisky’s taste. Bunnahabhain’s location benefits from having the breath of the bold sea on one side and the pure spring water of the Margadale River on the other side. Their whiskies have a unique approachable and welcoming taste which is mellow due to their minimal peating.

The best place to start when you are pairing food and wine is to think about the structural elements of both the food and wines. These elements are: sweetness, acidity, bitterness, umami, chilli heat and fat.

We have listed these elements in foods and how you can add wines with similar or contrasting elements to help create harmony in your matches.

Sweetness 

Sweet foods can overpower dry wines, white or red, making them appear acidic, neutral or bitter. In order to reduce this effect you should pair sweet foods with sweet wines. 

Acidity

Acidic foods, like fresh citrus, tomatoes or salads laden with vinaigrettes, will overpower the acidity in a wine making them appear flabby or less acidic than they were. In order to reduce this effect you should pair acidic foods with wines that have a higher acidity such as Champagne, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Acidity is a key element in creating balance in a dish or a food-and-wine match. If the foods are going to reduce the acidity in the wines then you need to add your own bit of acidity by bringing a more acidic wine to the table. It is the same principle behind adding lemon juice to seafood dishes, as seafood tends to have quite low natural acidity.

Bitterness

If a food is high in bitterness then it will make the wine appear bitter, or it will increase the perception of bitterness (tannins) in the wine. In order to reduce this effect you should pair bitter foods with wines that are not lean with high acid.  Rather choose wines with some sweetness, fruit or viscosity.

Umami (Savoury)

Foods that are highly savoury, like mushrooms, will increase the bitterness or acidic perception we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair umami rich foods with wines that are fruity and do not have medium-high tannins. 

Often foods that are more savoury are best matched with white wines like Chardonnay or Soave as these do not big tannins but have lots of fruity flavours.

Chilli Heat

Chilli heat is similar to umami-rich foods.  They will increase the bitterness or acidic perception as well as the alcoholic burn we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair chilli heat rich foods with wines that are fruity and/or have higher sweetness levels.

Wines that are off-dry like many Gewürztraminers or Rieslings could work best with chilli foods like a curry as they will be both a bit sweet but also very fruity. If you aren't a white wine drinker then you could consider red wines that have lower tannins such as a Pinot Noir or Gamay Noir. 

Fatty

Foods that are high in fat will make the wines feel flabby and less fruity. In order to reduce this effect you should pair fatty foods with wines that have high acidity. This is similar to the rule of adding in acidity (in the form of citrus) to seafood to help to cut down the perception of fattiness.  

These suggestions (there are no rules that apply to everyone) will help you to think about how to create pairings. It often isn't helpful to think about 'red wine and red meat' or 'white wine and fish' because it is actually the structural elements of the wine and food that need to be balanced. It is the acidity in white wines that works well by cutting through the fattiness of a piece of fish but you could get that acidity in a Pinot Noir.