Gordon & MacPhail – Bunnahabhain 8yo (peated)

The Wood Makes The Whisky Series

What Gordon & MacPhail say:

Taken from The Wood Makes the Whisky series, in which G&M explain the impact choosing the right casks has on whisky, and explaining how they have applied that knowledge of maturation to their whiskies.

This is a peated Bunnahabhain, making this particularly interesting.

What I say:

I am a big fan of Bunnahabhain, and I really looking forward to tasting this peated, independent 8 year old.  This is bottled at 43% ABV and is available from The Whisky Exchange at a price of £32.45.



G&M 8 YO Bunnahabhain
G&M 8 YO Bunnahabhain

On first nosing there is an intense dunnage warehouse note, it’s damp, earthy and it is mixed with a slight farmyard note.  The peat really starts to make itself known, it has a lovely salty air, much like a crisp pancetta, which works wonderfully with the fruits brought forth from the sherry cask.  There are juicy raisins and rich plums, braeburn apples, soft sugary pears and a hint of nectarine juice.

Given some time to open up the fruits linger gently in the background, while the peat keeps puffing through, it’s both meaty and salty, yet sweet with the promise of dark fruits.


The dark fruits from the nose hit instantly, it’s bursting with brambles, plums, nectarines, raisins and blood oranges, just as your mouth starts to water from the intense fruitiness the peat comes through washing over the palate like a tidal wave.

Sweet scallops melting in the mouth, with fresh pea sweetness and scattered smoked bacon pieces.  The fruitiness works in perfect harmony with the umami saltiness.  There is a subtle honeyed note which really carries through apples and dried apricots, with a milk chocolate sauce.


A medium length, the dark fruits have the staying power, and there is only a brief nod to the orchard fruits as the plum sauce and raisins continue to work their magic on the palate.

The peat smoke encircles your mouth swirling and dancing, bringing a sweet smokiness to all it touches.  The saltiness of the bacon keeps lifting this and carries wave upon wave of a sweet/savoury battle.

Overall Conclusions:

This is a great example of the impact of the cask and really showcases the whole theme for the series.  You could easily be fooled into thinking this 8 year old is far older, there is so much complexity with the balance between the sweet and the savoury notes always perfect.

It’s at a great price point, and would easily outperform many older whiskies.  Peated Bunnahabain’s are always special in my opinion and the smoke on this is sublime.  A wonderful example of a peated, sherried whisky, which really does showcase how much influence a quality cask can impart.

Kirsty Clarke (@KirstyClarke29)

Everybody needs a Whisky Corner in their life.

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