Bunnahabhain 1980 (Artful Dodger)

Bunnahabhain 1980 (Artful Dodger)

On the Artful Dodger website it says “getting our grubby hands on this cask was no easy feat”. Indeed not every bottler is able to release a Bunnahabhain 1980 these days. That’s 38 years old Islay whisky. What could possibly go wrong…?


Bunnahabhain 38 yo 1980 (44,7%, Artful Dodger 2018, refill bourbon hogshead #3474, 50 cl)

Nose: a nice mix of coastal elements and smooth fruits. Orange peels, candyfloss, yellow plums, then some fragrant eucalyptus and silver polish, even a hint of faded pot-pourri. Subtle camphor and peat, mixed with apple peelings. The floral freshness works wonders with the chalky, seaweedy character.

Mouth: fairly soft arrival, and the first thing that comes out is a clear hint of 4711 I’m afraid. Maybe not exactly the lavender / violets / FWP of a 1980s Bowmore but something fragrant and rather soapy nonetheless. Sandalwood and vetiver. Underneath it are soft fruits, pine needles and almonds. Once you’ve swallowed it brings out tobacco and hints of marihuana. A peculiar profile to say the least.

Finish: the fragrant side kind of ruined it for me.

When I saw a Bunnahabhain 1980 in the line-up, I was impressed. The nose was very much okay but once in the mouth I have difficulty getting past the cologne note. Approach with caution. Available from Artful Dodger direct and now discounted from Master of Malt.