‘Smoky Mist’ descends… Bunnahabhain Introduces Limited Release Ceòbanach
Regulars will know I’m a big fan of Bunnahabhain, I always have been… Bunna 12yo was one of the drams that started me on my journey. Therefore imagine my excitement to get hold of an official sample of Bunnas latest release, Ceòbanach. Below you’ll find my notes and thoughts, but first let’s take a look at the official PR…
Bunnahabhain Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky has announced it has introduced a limited release expression to the range, Ceòbanach from October this year, inspired by life on Islay in the 1800s.
Ceòbanach (pronounced ‘kyaw-bin-och’), which means ‘smoky mist’ in Scots Gaelic, reflects the origins of Bunnahabhain, both the place and the single malt’s charming, complex character. Bunnahabhain Master Distiller, Ian MacMillan, took his inspiration from life on Islay in the 1800s, when the community was dependant on peat for warmth, fuel and trade. A time when smoke from the open fires mingled with the salty sea air to create a ‘smoky mist’ you could taste.
Perfected and nurtured by Ian MacMillan for over 10 years, the new expression contains layers of flavour, evocative of time past yet reflecting the heart of Bunnahabhain today. The lemon gold liquid has an unusually rich, complex character marrying ex bourbon cask sweetness with intense Islay malt peatiness and subtle hints of the sea. As with all Bunnahabhain expressions, Ceòbanach is unchill-filtered meaning that nothing is added or taken away, leaving the whisky exactly as nature intended.
Ian MacMillan, Master Blender comments “With the new millennium I decided to turn back the clock and recreate the original Bunnahabhain. I have spent a decade regularly monitoring, nosing and tasting these whiskies as they matured. I always envisaged that this product would be perfect around 10 years old and I certainly have not been disappointed. Although we could never fully replicate the original style of spirit produced at Bunnahabhain,Ceòbanach is as close as we could possibly hope for.”
Alison Gibb, Global Marketing Manager at Burn Stewart, said: “This is an exciting release for Bunnahabhain, not only because of its limited availability, but because it reflects the history and heritage of our location and our unique single malt. Taking its inspiration from the distillery’s surroundings on Islay, the taste is rich, complex and distinctive.”
Now on to my notes and thoughts…
Ceòbanach – 10yo – 46.3% abv
Colour: Clear, bright and honest, light straw, lemon.
Nose: A light to medium Islay peat comes to greet you straight out of the glass, it’s very inviting that’s for sure (if you’re a peat lover anyway). There’s lashings of butter, toffee, vanilla and barley. The peat is fairly smoky and quite clear in nature, it’s not your heavy TCP notes from somewhere like Laphroaig, but it is coastal that’s for sure.
Palate: It’s quite thick and easily mouth coating, some spices build after a while and on your palate they’re gentle. There’s slightly coastal peaty smoke intermingling with newer oak flavours and some muddy grass notes and a bit of coal and tar. It’s exciting stuff.
Finish: It’s long and smoky, nicely warming on your chest and sweet enough throughout to enjoy and not have any tannin sour notes at the end.
Afters: The glass leaves a smell that reminds you of walking through the distillery with the smell of all the processes that are going on, it’s great.
Thoughts: It’s a cracking dram for sure, Bunna was always peated back along before processes changed for it to become peat free… it’s great to see this peated version join the various others that are around, all are great, all vary in peat intensity, and all worth a look. I hope they have some stocks left as I can imagine this being even better at 12yo!
Extras: Bunna sent me along a bar of 70% dark chocolate to go with the dram, and they work together fabulously, worth a try if you have some around!
Available: In shops soon, £59.99.
Thanks to Bunnahabhain for the sample.