Review #124: Bunnahabhain 18: A Full Bodied Islay Sherry Monster

I make a little secret of my love for sherried whiskies. There are few things I appreciate more than a monster that marries sherry and malt. Bunnahbhain 18 offers sherry in spades; the costal distillery combines rich, full bodied sherry with salty sea spray.

I got this one a few months back, after I spied it selling for around around $100 at K&L spirits. Bunnahbhain is one of my favorite distilleries on Islay. It’s tucked in the north eastern corner of the island, next to Caol Ila, and near the town of Port Askaig, which offers ferry service to the nearby island of Jura. Most of Bunnahbhain’s spirits are unpeated, and those that do come with peat are generally really lightly ground. Most of their spirit goes into Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark and generally matured in sherry.

I also appreciate the fact that Bunnahabhain have started edging up the ABV in their general spirits. This one is only a smidge over 40%, clocking in at 46.3% ABV, but it still tastes much better than it would at the legal minimum. Bunnahbhain also ditched caramel coloring, and chill filtration woohoo!!!

A dead bottle of Bunnahabhain 18

Bunnahbhain 18 Whiskey Review

Tasting Notes

Nose: Salty sea spray, sherried figs and plums, cherries and candy. Palate: Lots of toffee and sherry pudding. Full bodied and rich like an oloroso. Malty mid palate with plums and caramel. Finish: Lingering taste of figs and toffee. Very long and pleasant finish.

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Additional Information

About Bunnahabhain

  • Bunnahabhain is one of the largest distilleries in Islay, with four pot stills with 30,000 L capacity, producing more than 2M liters of pure spirit per year.
  • The distillery was originally founded in 1881.
  • Bunnahabhain is close to Port Askaig and the ferry to Islay. It’s also right next to Caol Ila.

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