Back to the Fin de Siècle – Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach Whisky Tasting Notes

The Ceòbanach is a modern day recreation of the Bunnahabhain of old, like the Aberlour a’Bunadh and the new Glenfiddich Original (seeking to recreate the 1963 malt that began the single malt category worldwide). This expression harks back to the turn of the 20th century, and the first two decades of the distillery’s life.

The Gaelic name is pronounced ‘kyaw-bin-och’ and means smoky mist.

Happily, this small batch expression is aimed at the wide market, so you don’t have to leave your country to get your hands on a bottle.

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The Old Bunnahabhain    —   Picture Credit:

While officially NAS, the Ceòbanach is matured for over 10 years in ex bourbon casks, and is peated, though not heavily so. It is, however, very tarry so if that’s not your thing, this expression is less suited to your taste.

Manny, my Austrian buddy, shot this dram over the Alps to me – Prost!!

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Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach (46.3% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Straw colored with sluggish legs.

Nose: Muted and very rounded peat with a lot of tar on the nose. Seawater  in a glass by the fire, it’s briny with hints of honey.

Palate: Tar with sweet lemons and melted honey, like a peaty lemon drop, it will leave a slight dryness across your tongue.

Linger: Sweet peat, lemon and a little bit of residual tartness on the sides of the tongue.


This is a very consistent and cohesive whisky. The palate delivers exactly what the nose promises, and the finish is pleasant. Personally, I find it a bit too tarry, but that’s just my own personal taste.

Not having tasted turn of the 20th century Bunnas, I’ll have to take Ian MacMillan’s word for it, and hope more distilleries recreate ‘old school’ whiskies.


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