Single malt whisky - tasting notes

28 Jan 2011

Bunnahabhain Cruach Mhona

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Bunnahabhain

A bunch of samples are waiting on my desk, but I’m developing a cold so I may have to slow down the publishing tempo for a while…

The otherwise unpeated Islay distillery Bunnahabhain did some peated runs in 1997, and occasionally they make it into a limited release like Bunnahabhain Toiteach or Bunnahabhain Moine. Now there’s a peated expression for duty free shops (as often also available in a few regular stores). Cruach Mhóna is the name for a pile of drying peat bricks.


Bunnahabhain Cruach MhonaBunnahabhain Cruach Mhóna
(50%, OB 2010, travel retail, 100cl)

Nose: starts savoury with coastal hints of dried algae. Toasted bread. Then some herbs and something that vaguely reminds me of Maggi or – strangely – Worcestershire sauce. Smoke with sweet liquorice. Faint eucalyptus. Less peaty than previous peated Bunna, or so it seems. A few fruity notes in the background that grow stronger over time. Mouth: more peat now. Ash tray, tarry ropes. More malty sweetness than the nose suggested. Develops on pepper, liquorice and a little salt. A few herbal notes. Nose: slightly drying and smokey. Medium length.

Not a bad dram, but it suffers from a comparison with its Islay neighbours who offer similar (yet more mature) peated whisky for less money. Around € 65.

Score: 75/100

Bunnahabhain Cruach Mhona 2 Ruben Luyten 2011-01-28
  • I_SPEY

    In this case, Ruben, I’m very sorry, but I do not agree with your view on the Bunnahabhain Cruach Mhona! I think, it’s a (damn) good whisky, when you add some drops(7-8) of water to this liquid; the whisky becomes more smokey – not peated! – but smokey(!) with a very subtle taste, oilyish, sweetish and even some fruit. Malty, dry and spicy in the finish.
    My score: 84/100

  • Kamil Trochta

    How are you????
    Would you tell me how old is Bunnahahain Cruach Mhona??? and the Drach Ur,as well….????
    Thanks for your help !!!!!
    Cordially yours,

  • Ruben

    Both probably contain young and old whisky (Darach Ur up to 20 years, Cruach Mhona probably younger). Most likely there’s also whisky in there less than 10 years old, which is why they don’t give an official age statement.

  • Dave

    The guy at Heathrow is a better salesman than I’d given him credit for. I foolishly ignored cheaper, but more welcoming, Islays and saddled myself with this over-priced, in-your-face peatmonster. There’s no subtlety here — every mouthful’s a test of stamina.

  • Maltmuncher

    Have to disagree i’m afraid. I’ve sat in one of Islay’s greatest whisky bars and compared vintage Bunnas alongside the best of lagavullin and Ardbeg and dismissed it as an inferior Islay dram. And i missed the point entirely. Bunna is not meant to be a tour de force of peat… It’s much subtler. I rediscovered Bunna 12 after years of neglect and consequently made sure to taste a number of their duty free and cask strength offerings. Cruach Mhona was by far one of the best and most interesting Islay drams i’ve tasted for a while. With a drop or two of water it really opens up, giving way to the wonderul floral notes which compliment a lavishly peated yet typically subtle bunna malt. Comparing to laphroaig cask strength or Uigeadail (incidentally my favourite “go to” whisky) misses the point because it simply isn’t a peat monster. Far from it. This is one of the few examples where a NAS can truly prevail.

  • Shakeyfly

    I just found this review… but I strongly disagree. I give it an 85/100. It is one of my favorite drams out there, and the water truly can open up the smoke and undernotes of the whiskey. I’m a big fan of what Bunnahabhain produces. I love the quieter peat flavors as opposed to Arbeg and the real peat powerhouses.

    But this is the beautiful thing about Scotch.. To each their own! Slainte



March 2015
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1751 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.