Thanks to /u/shane_il for the sample.
Let’s discuss the elephant in the room: Yes, the picture is not of Batch 10. Honestly finding a picture of Batch 10 that was big enough to look nice while not having watermarks all over it or stolen from a blog was like pulling my own tonsils out. Not really worth it.
My interest in Bunnahabhain Darach Ur is 100% based on the name alone. I know what you’re thinking: What a great way to hunt down whisky!
I mean, it isn’t. I know it isn’t. I try to go into any review without knowing anything beyond the name. And Darach Ur is a pretty kick ass name.
And why is that? Well it’s Scots Gaelic. All it means is New Oak. I didn’t hunt down other whiskies named New Oak as quickly. Heck, this is a NAS OB whisky from a company that I prefer IBs from; I should not be hunting it down.
Yes here we are. Post hunt. NAS OB Bunnahabhain aged solely in virgin American oak casks.
And you’re thinking: Who fucked the other casks? I don’t know, some guy in Kentucky probably.
But you’re also thinking: Why? Well why not. Sounds interesting, and we’ll see how Bunnahabhain does in their impression of being an American Hipster making a single malt.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 6/10
Nose: Raspberry, honey, smoke, licorice, bubblegum, grass, Chardonnay yeast
That last note may through you off. Let’s stick a pin in it for a second.
You would expect this whisky to have no red fruit notes. I’d expect, at least. And I’d be wrong. Because the malt itself has a lighter, tarter flavour.
Now to pull the pin: There’s a dry, yeasty note here. And oddly enough I like that note in the odd Chardonnay or even a Champagne style sparkling wine. Here…. it’s not helping. It takes the smoke or grass notes, puts them together, and falls on the collective mutant face. Which is too bad.
Taste: Strawberry, pine, lemonade, sweet potato, orange, tobacco, apple
Again, really nice red fruit notes that I’m surprised are within the malt. It’s all quite subtle
That said, the main flavour is sweet. It needs something to turn down the sweetness from 11. Or distract it better. Don’t get me wrong: It’s trying, with earth there, just not enough.
Finish: Grass, black pepper, earth, carrot, sweet wheat, chocolate, toffee
This reminds me of a buffalo grass vodka that then turns into a more wheated bourbon. Given the ingredients, that’s not a surprise.
Again, very muted finish. Takes some time to tease apart each flavour.
Conclusion: Subtle, almost smooth. Right on that balance beam. If you love subtle malts, this is for you. Me? I’d like something a bit more brash.
There were signs that this was taking on the flavours quickly without having time to really open up or mature. There’s signs of young malt, signs that it needed something, and just signs that it was destined for travel retail.
All in all, this is as nice as the 12. I’m not a huge fan of the 12, and think that Bunnahabhain tastes great after 18 years minimum. Oh well, time to hunt down some more IBs.
Scotch review #449, Islay review #92, Whisky Network review #721