Bunnahabhain An Cladach Single Malt
We are off to Islay by way of Global Travel Retail with the new 'World Traveller Exclusive' from Bunnahabhain. Bunnahabhain, lying in the north east of Islay, is the islands northernmost distillery sitting atop Ardnahoe and Caol Ila and nestled in Bunnahabhain Bay it overlooks the Sound of Islay. I haven't been there myself yet but it is reputed to be one of the most scenic of Islay's distilleries.
Bunnahabhain are a little different by way of Islay distilleries in that their whiskies, in the main, are unpeated specimens. At present they make 65% of their new make unpeated and 35% peated, with the ppm level of the peated spirit a healthy 35-45ppm.
The 'An Cladach', which means 'The Shore' in Gaelic is one of three Travel Retail exclusives in their portfolio. There is the Cruach-Mhòna which is made up of young, heavily peated Bunna, the Eirigh Na Greine which comprises bourbon, sherry and red wine cask matured whiskies and finally the An Cladach which is also the newest member of the Travel Retail family and is fully sherry cask matured and unpeated.
Other than that I have precious little info on the whisky other than the marketing guff on the back of the tube which tells us that this 'edition celebrates the adventurous. Those brave enough to explore new lands, travel the world and seek out new shores.' Honestly who writes this stuff?
Apparently this is also a 'limited edition complex malt with a rich sherry influence and sromas of fruits, nuts and spice.' Of course in the world of whisky marketing 'limited edition' could easily mean an outturn of 20,000 bottles so I'm fairly sure that this won't be too hard for anyone to come by.
Other than that it is bottled at 50% abv, is natural colour and non chill filtered. It cost €49.99 at www.whiskysite.nl or can be bought at www.masterofmalt.com for £55.95.
A mixture of sweet malt, brine and sherry. A slight oiliness on the nose too. There is a forceful alcohol kick indicating a lack of maturity. Salted nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, camphor, coffee and old copper coins. Water brings out cardamon, lavender, vanilla and toffee.
Nice oily texture on arrival no doubt helped by the abv. Sherry again evident - sweet and salty. Raisins, chocolate, hazelnuts but also quite spicy. Pepper and nutmeg and then a slight metallic, bitter edge comes to the fore. Water enhances those sherried notes and makes it slightly sweeter. Dates now. Better balanced than without water and reduces the metallic edge.
Very drying but peppery with bitter green herbs.
It's a perfectly fine whisky actually and surprisingly for Travel Retail one that didn't have me viewing trying it out as a chore and a massive disappointment. Saying that I wouldn't purchase this again.
Why? Because it's essentially a younger version of the 12 year old. The flavours are all there but just not as expressive or coherent. It just feels less well integrated than the 12.
Taking into account that you can pick up the 12 for around £40 for a 70cl bottle I would advise you to buy it instead. Scaling this bottle down to a 70cl you are looking at around £38 anyway and for a lesser experience.