One of the most-fun-to-say spirits names in the business, Bunnahabhain is situated on the north end of Islay. This 18-year Scotch is a moderately smoky spirit, heavy on salty, seaweed-infused phenol and light on the sweets (a caramel note is there somewhere in the finish, but it’s just a hint, really). Flowery notes are more prevalent than wood, with that oily phenol putting a blanket down on everything.
I’m not sure this bottling lives up to Bunnahabhain’s tagline of “The Gentle Taste,” but it’s considerably more easygoing than, say, Laphroaig. If you’re looking to move into more phenol-toned Scotches but are put off by them, this is a good place to start.
I had hoped for more complexity in this whisky but it’s quite pleasant — though the price (sometimes over $100) can be off-putting for those unfamiliar with the brand.