Bunnahabhain An Cladach

”(Un)Pure Shores”

Whisky Review # 949
Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bunnahabhain An Cladach
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50%
Maturation: Mix of Oloroso Sherried wood and Ex-Bourbon casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 40-55 (May 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 Okay at around US$ 40 
Buying Advice: 👎 Can't really recommend this An Cladach

Colour: Golden Amber (Natural Color)


This Bunnahabhain needs some time in the glass to avoid the initial wafts of Sulfur and Varnish. This is a young Single Malt and there's still a bit of New Make Spirit in the air. The Alcohol is not really integrated. The nose presents itself Nervous and without much Balance. It's a mix of Sweet and Sour notes and shows a rather high Acidity. The Oloroso influence is clear. All in all I'm not impressed though.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Butter Biscuits, Brown Sugar, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Treacle, Wax, Yeast, Grass and Straw mixed with a little Cow Manure, Dried Fruit like Plums, Figs, Raisins, Sultanas and Apricots, Mixed Red Berries, Green Apple, Orange, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Leather, Stale Espresso, Metal, Pepper, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Butterscotch, Vanilla, Honey, Resin, Pear, Nectarine, Banana, Sour Cherries, Mango Mousse, Herbal Tea, Nougat, Dusty Earth, Hospital, Varnish, Sulfur, Petrol, Coconut Cask, Ginger, Cloves and Mint.


Young. A mix of Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Raw, Acid & Metallic notes. Don't wake me up for this Bunnahabhain. Man, it's really hard to find a reasonable priced decent Single Malt in the Travel Retail shops!

Main Flavours:

Malted & Toasted Barley, Treacle, Brown Sugar, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Figs, Plums and Apricots, Apple-Vinegar, Sour (Dark) Berries and Cherries, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Dusty Casks, Licorice, Copper Coins, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Banana, Orange, Mango Mousse, Dried Herbs, Dusty Earth, Leather, Tobacco, Nougat, Cardamom, Ginger, Mint, Varnish and Sulfur.


Middle-Long. Sweet and Sour at first but quicky showing a Bitterness that becomes almost unpleasant towards the Medium-Dry end. I find Toasted Malt, Treacle, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Yeast, Grass and Straw, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Figs and Plums, Sour Red Berries and Cherries, Pear, Green Apple, Mixed Nuts, Milk Chocolate, Dusty Casks, Dusty Earth, Sulfur, Dried Herbs, Stale Espresso, Peanut Butter, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cloves, Nutmeg, Mint, Wet Rocks, Leather, Licorice, Copper Coins and Stale Espresso.

Drinking Advice:

A little Water certainly helps to calm down this Spirity Bunnahabhain. More Malt & Fruit on the Nose but lots of Spices and Menthol on the Palate and in the Finish. I would add a few drops though.

Rating: 80

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20

Drinking Experience Neat:

Borderline Okay. This Bunnahabhain does not light up my day.


Bunnahabhain was founded in 1881 by William Robertson and is located close to Port Askaig on the isle of Islay. It is currently owned by Distell International Ltd that made substantial investments in reviving the site. A brand new Visitor Centre was opened in 2021. The core range now includes the 12, 18, 25 and 40 years alongside some peated expressions like the Toiteach and the Stiuireadair. Total production is around 2.5 million litres of which roughly 35% is peated. The An Cladach (Gaelic for "The Shore") that I'm reviewing today was launched in 2017.

Easily the weakest Single Malt I have tasted this year. It's Young, Rough, Metallic, Bitter and quite unbalanced. I don't get any pleasure out of this I'm afraid. And I don't really know what's the cause. Most likely a combination of Youth, Indifferent Casks and perhaps a longer Middle cut. It's almost as miserable as the weather during our visit to the distillery! In any case I can't recommend this one and I urge you to stay with the slightly better 12 Years. Or, if you like peated Malts, go for the Toiteach instead. That's more like it! 


Jan van den Ende                                                                            May 31, 2022

No comments: