James MacArthur’s Bunnahabhain 5 Year

Scotch Whisky Review #119: James MacArthur’s Bunnahabhain 5 Year


Distillery: Bunnahabhain

Region: Islay

ABV: 45%

Age: 5 Year, Distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2014

Price: $7.50 for a 2oz pour during happy hour.

Color: Between 0.0, Gin Clear and 0.1, White Wine. Non Chill Filtered and Natural Color.

Nose: It smells like walking into a distillery! You get a lot of that lovely, lovely malted barley mash smell. Its sweet, warm, and has a very tiny tinge of alcohol. I didn’t want to stop smelling this.

Palate: Surprisingly not hot at all. Much like the nose teases, you get a lot of that lovely warm malt barley with the tiniest hint of peat. With a little bit of water, it gets fairly sweet and turns into something I would imagine sugared malted barley breakfast cereal would taste like.

Finish: The finish is a little short and drying. Not a whole lot going on here.

Conclusion: The first sniff of this dram immediately took me back to Scotland and the distillery tours we did there. The air in them just has this heavy, warm barley smell and this dram has bottled it up nicely. Having a very short amount of time in the cask, I imagine this is a decent reflection of Bunnahabhain’s base spirit as well which holds up nicely. I want to rate this one very highly because I absolutely love it but at the same time it’s clear that it is far from a finished product. The finish is lacking, there is essentially no complexity in this at all, and it’s basically a bottle of malt barley spirit. Still, it’s absolutely delicious. Would I buy a bottle? Yes.

Final Score: 77.

Scotch Whisky review #119, Islay Whiskey Review #12, Whisky Network Review #159

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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