Today we’re at Bunnahabhain over on Islay and this release was chosen because it’s by far the easiest NAS release that I can pronounce.
In 2018, with approximately only 1% of the Scottish population speaking Gaelic, the distillery saw an opportunity to name their releases using the native language and connect whisky lovers from both near and far with the heritage that still plays a huge part at Bunnahabhain and their storied history.
Some of the trickier names are Erigh Na Greine (Ay-ree ne gray-nu’uh), which means ‘The Morning Sky’, and Stiùireadair (Stew-rahdur), which means ‘Helmsman’, and is a nod to the distillery’s strong maritime connections. Fortunately, I have chosen Moine (Moi-na) which stands for ‘Peated’. Whilst the Moine series itself has several whiskies in it with varying maturations including oloroso and red wine, this release is their standard peated whisky from the range.
When discussing the powerful smokey / peated / medicinal whiskies that Islay is famous for, Bunnahabhain is rarely the first distillery to be mentioned. As one of the milder producers on the island, it’s more recognisable for it’s maritime notes and oiliness than for it’s peat or smoke, with it’s 12 Year Old expression being one of the best valued whskies available.
Rested in a Glencairn for 10, nae water added, and pale gold in colour
Nose: Fresh leather, sweet licorice, slight medicinal heat. Unmistakeable peat yet quite subtle. It’s nowhere near being an Islay monster – an earthy hug rather than a peaty haymaker. There’s a creaminess too with whiffs of tablet and condensed milk.
Palate: Salmiak liquorice from Scandinavia, persistent and salty-sweet – as a licorice fan I love it, but could understand why this may put others off. There’s a frutiness of melons too. Sea salt and peat floating about, and very little ethanol or burn to suggest it’s a very young NAS.
Finish: Short with a faint aniseed taste, which I also enjoy. Slightly oily mouthfeel.
I found Moine to be somewhere between an Ardbeg and Laphroaig 10, and I actually enjoyed it more than both of those. NCA and NCF, bottled at 46.3%, and available for £35 – a very reasonable whisky; well-rounded, great performance-to-price ratio, and one I would happily buy again.