Bunnahabhain Stiuireadair

Bunnahabhain Stiuireadair (46.3%, OB, 2018)

  • ABV: 46.3%
  • Age: NAS
  • Bottling: OB
  • Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky
  • Cost: £38
  • Origin: Bunnahabhain Distillery
  • Vintage: undeclared


What they say

Stiùireadair (pronounced ‘stew-rahdur’ and means ‘helmsman’ in Scots Gaelic) is the latest member of the Bunnahabhain crew. With a brackish, coastal tinge, this sherried malt will transport you to Bunnahabhain bay, with a smattering of sea spray and dried fruit lingering on your lips.

Meaning Helmsman in Scots Gaelic, Stiùireadair, is the first Bunnahabhain Limited Edition to pay homage to the Bunnahabhain Helmsman, who adorns every bottle. But our Helmsman is no mere icon, he is a reminder of our origins, a link to our past, and a symbol of our enduring appreciation of the sea by which we are surrounded.

To create Stiùireadair, our Senior Blender has selected first and second fill sherry casks with spirit of varying ages and warehouse locations to construct a dram that truly exposes the coastal nature of the Bunnahabhain single malt whisky, whilst not losing the sherry influence everyone knows and loves in the famous 12 year old.

Official tasting notes:

  • COLOUR Amber Gold.
  • NOSE Dried fruit and creamy caramel with hints of brine, vanilla, nuts and a touch of spice.
  • PALATE Creamy mouth feel with a dried fruit influence, sea salt, creamy caramel with hints of nuts and a gentle spice.
  • FINISH Long and lingering with hints of dried fruit.

What I say

Launched in 2017, Bunnahabhain’s foray into staple NAS bottlings was led by this entry level heavily sherried Stiùireadair expression. It feels like it has been a long time since I got to sample some OB Bunnahabhain, a shame as I love their 12yo and normally have bottle stocked on my shelf. Despite all the single cask and exclusive or rare whisky to be tasted sometimes it is good to go back to something ‘basic’ like this now and again and appreciate it.

This review was sponsored by Bunnahabhain by provision of a sample of this product.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Dark orange gold (12/20), oily, medium tears and fine legs.
  • Nose: Buttery and sweet, orange oil and dried fruits, dusty and musty, old leather, raisins, citrus peel, salted caramel, barley sugars, salted almonds and nut brittle, cocoa butter.
  • Taste: Thick and oily on the palate, spiced and fruity, chilli waxed raisins, brazil nut, almond milk, salted caramel latte, hint of menthol or Murray mints, shea and cocoa butter.
  • Finish: Medium-long, oily and vaporous, Murray mints, oak wood and gentle spices.


When I originally opened this I think I found it quite youthful/spirity and a little over-spiced, however after some time in the bottle and allowed to breathe a little I have come away with a much greater appreciation of this whisky. It is in fact very well constructed with a great mix of oily, buttery caramel and rich spice, fruit and nut sherry influence. It really is a classic Bunnahabhain with that wonderful spirit character you either love (like me) or hate.

Score 84/100

Available from Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange

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Categories: Bunnahabhain, Islay

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