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  • The Whisky Guy reviews – Bunnahabhain 12 year old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Posted by on Oct 22nd, 2014

    Up until now i’ve only reviewed blended whiskies and today’s bottle of deliciousness will be the first single malt whisky to make an appearance and it comes from the legendary Islay, the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland…a region best known for its disproportionately high number of distilleries and the unique peaty flavour of its single malts. I had the honour of being introduced to Bunnahabhain by none other than South Africa’s whisky maestro, Pierre Meintjes. His knowledge and insight was remarkable and added to his personality he’s the kind of guy you’d want around a braai telling stories about his 40 years in the whisky industry. He has possibly the best job ever.

    Let’s get back to the whisky though because that’s why we’re here…to review the Bunnahabhain 12 year old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. I can see you trying to pronounce the name…try saying it with Sean Connery’s accent, it helps.

    Established in 1881 you can practically smell the history.

    As with my previous reviews i’ll give you some background history on the whisky and then some thoughts on what it’s like. I’m still learning so don’t expect an expert review from an educated palate. I’ll call it like it is and the review is simply my 2 cents from a layman’s perspective. Use it , don’t use it.

    The story behind Bunnahabhain 12 year old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky:

    The first bit of bar ammo you can impress people with is the correct pronounciation of Bunnahabhain…it’s pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn ( yes with a ‘v’) and means mouth of the river in Scots Gaelic, referring to the Margadale River that flows close by. Islay is reknowned for producing whiskies that have a smokey character derived from malting barley over burning peat, but the Bunnahabhain is very lightly peated. 46.3% in strength (they don’t mess around) and it is un-chillfiltered with no added colouring.

    What’s it taste like?

    Nose: given the history of the distillery and the reputation of Islay being known for producing that unique peaty whisky i almost expected the initial aromas of Bunnahabhain to be overpoweringly smokey and medicinal, but was surprised that it’s hardly noticible. Instead the first impression was notes of sherry followed by sultanas and nuts…like the Christmas cake my mom used to make. There is a hint of salt, but the fruitiness sits above it.

    Palate: As soon as it touches your lips the sherry flavours come through followed quickly by chocolate and nuts. It’s one of those where the initial taste is overwhelming with a mix of flavours that is hard to pin down. After several mouthfuls though you start noticing less sherry and more of the nuttiness followed by a touch of caramel and even some coffee.

    Finish: smooth, but you feel it slowly making your way down the throat. Collecting the flavours from our mouth picks up the nutty flavours and i was left feeling like i just ate one of those dark chocolates filled with sherry liquor.

    Appearance and price: love the vintage feel of the bottle..it has that historic feel to it steeped in Scottish heritage. As far as price goes it’s valued at R580 a bottle, but well worth it.

    Overall score on the Life is Savage Whisky Index: The Bunnahabhain 12 year old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky gets an outstanding 9 out of 10. As much as i want to display it at the front of my whisky cabinet, i’ve hidden it at the back for safe keeping.

    For more info check the website HERE.

    Good times.

    GIVEAWAY: one lucky reader will drink away with a bottle of Bunnahabhain 12 year old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky by answering the following question in the comments section.

    Tell me in the comment section how to correctly pronounce Bunnahabhain and in what year it was founded

    I’ll pick a winner in a week from today on the 29-10-2014.

    Since it’s a alcohol there are some terms and conditions HERE. You must be an SA resident and old enough to drink…obviously.

    UPDATE: winner has been chosen. Congrats Phil. Will be in touch.

    stephanie says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It’s pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn and it was established in 1881, i would be in my husbands good books forever if i won this for him , he loves his Whisky’s

    Richard Clacher says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It is pronounced: Bū-na-ha-venn and it was founded in 1881

    Smanga Mhlanzi says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It’s pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn and it was established in 1881, I’m starting a collection of fine whiskey s and this would top my list

    Tarah Darge says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Bū-na-ha-venn with a v :)

    Justin says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It’s pronounced bun-a-hav-in/Bū-na-ha-venn and founded in 1881.

    Byron says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It is pronounced boob-naha-venn and founded in 1881. (Just kidding, it is Bū-na-ha-venn)

    Andre says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Bū-na-ha-venn founded in 1891

    Andre says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Oops meant to say 1881 got rugby on the brain

    Bū-na-ha-venn founded in 1881

    Cheryl says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It is pronounced: Bū-na-ha-venn and it was founded in 1881

    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It’s pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn and founded in 1881.

    Johan says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    So try saying Banana when you had one to many Bunnahabhain, it’s comes out as Bunna, after that the half a phrase of rehab comes out, because thats where you were and thats were you are going to be heading again, so lets make that a drunk ‘hab. Now the combination of habhain, can point towards you shouting at a rugby game and habana is going for the tryline, Habhain!! Also pissed out of your socks for sure, because who’s sober while watching rugby?

    So to put all of this together, a drunk banana is about to score a habana try at the (re)’hab.

    Bunnahabhain, sounds about right, right?

    Johan says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    My Apologies, founded in 1881.

    Savage says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Haha! That was excellent :)

    David McIver says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Your whiskyguy reviews are the best read on life is savage

    Ashton says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Bū-na-ha-venn ( yes with a ‘v’) founded in 1891 Need this #Daddy in my life 😀

    Carl Piek says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Bū-na-ha-venn – now give the poor alcoholic a taste of something more refined and impress his ladie with.

    Roland Straub says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Bunnahabhain (pronounced /ˌbuːnəˈhævən/ BUN-a-HAV-in, from Scottish Gaelic Bun na h-Abhainn (in Scottish Gaelic it is pronounced /ˌbuːnəˈhɑːvɪn/[1]), meaning “foot of the river”[2]) is a village on the northeast coast of the isle of Islay, which is in the Argyll and Bute area of Scotland, in the Inner Hebrides group of islands.

    The village was established in 1881 to house the distillery’s workers, and the distillery still employs the majority of the village’s workers.

    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Established in 1881 and it is pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn <- or at least that's how you've told us all to say it… what future prank potential now that you have assembled all of us sheep! :)

    Jeroen says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It is pronounced: Bū-na-ha-venn and it was founded in 1881….

    Talitha says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It’s pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn ( yes with a ‘v’ and saying it with Sean Connery’s accent, helps)
    Established in 1881:-)

    Patrick says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It’s pronounced Bun-a-hav-in, meaning “foot of the river” and was established in 1881… Now give me my scotch 😉

    Megs Hartwig says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It is pronounced: Bū-na-ha-venn and it was founded in 1881.

    Dominique says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Bū-na-ha-venn (that v is a sneaky one!) Imagine trying to say the name a few times after having a glass or two of Bunnahabhain. Founded in 1881, they clearly know what they’re doing. Cheers!

    Gill says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It is pronounced: Bū-na-ha-venn and it was founded in 1881

    Phil says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Free booze is all I’m thinking. Quality at that. So here goes. Found in 1881.

    Pronounced like this. Bun-na, like if you’re saying Poena in afrikaans but with a B. Boena but spelt Bunna….then Ha-ven. Like you see it there it’s like saying Havana but only the first bit…Havan and replace the one a with a ‘e’. Almost like “havin it”. Now put them together you get Boena-haven. Not haven as in “safe haven”. If that’s what you’re saying you’re going to look like David Brent from the office in front of the boys when you’re serving class in a glass but can’t pronounce it right.

    Here’s a guy that looks like he could be friends with Fidel Castro pronouncing it correctly.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JanRqMtGtOI

    Adrian C. Phipps says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It is pronounced ‘BOO-na-HAven’ and founded in 1881.. Now pour me a wee dram laddie!!

    MikeC says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Bun-a-hav-in – founded in 1881

    Suzanne says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Bun-a-hav-in – founded in 1881

    Carl Piek says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Bū-na-ha-venn – now give the poor alcoholic a taste of something more refined and impress his lady with – founded in 1881

    Mark Mohr says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It’s pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn and it was established in 1881
    Thanks !

    Samantha Perry says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Bū-na-ha-venn with a v – 1881 – and it’s my favourite whisky (I blame my Scots ex-husband ;))

    yolisa says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Its pronounced: Bū-na-ha-venn and it was founded in 1881

    Tarnee says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    So it was established in 1881 (shew) and you pronounce it Bū-na-ha-venn – with a v (those crazy scots).

    Ta very much

    Sabine says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Pronounced : Bū-na-ha-venn and was founded in 1881!!!

    Anthony says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    banana-vein…? But if I had to google it, it would be Bū-na-ha-venn and in 1881 😀

    Patience Ngwenya says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It’s pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn and it was established in 1881

    Enid says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Bun-a-hav-in – founded in 1881

    Chait says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    well it’s pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn and it was founded in 1881 and if it comes to me nobody gets hurt. Simple really.

    ursula @urkila says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    HI Mr. Savage. = )

    I do believe it’s pronounced: Bū-na-ha-venn and it was founded in 1881.

    Good stuff this!

    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Boo na ha venn from 1881, but let us face it… it becomes a hell of a lot easier to pronounce after a glass or 2. In Afrikaans it is Gooi daar nog ‘n fokken dop man

    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I’m a newly acquired Whiskey drinker, (literally as of 24 hours ago) So far I have learnt a bit about whiskey etiquette,.how to taste and when to mention “Peety / hints of honey / smokey charcoal notes” I would love to win this bottle to be the very 1st whiskey Ive ever owned.
    So here it goes: Founded in 1881 pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn – Sounds heavenly when I say, Do let me taste it! 😛

    Jotun says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It’s pronounced bun-a-hav-in/Bū-na-ha-venn and founded in 1881

    Wynand Gerber says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Boon-a-havn.
    Founded 1881.

    Best thing from the 1880’s, no doubt.

    Jane Smith says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    The distillery was founded in 1881 and the name is pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn (with a ‘V’).

    Megan Josephs says:
    October 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It’s pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn…for us normal folks it would be Boon-na- haven…the distillery was founded in 1881.

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