This single malt Scotch Whisky is the only unpeated (or slightly) peated Islay malt Whisky. Bunnahabhain is traditionally aged in ex-Sherry casks which adds smooth richness. Also spicy ginger can be noted which is kind a marker for Bunnahabhain.
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In 2012, a batch of old ledger books from the early 1960s were found in storage. Looking over the entries out of curiosity, one of the cellar-masters noticed an entry that he did not recognize, giving a storage location.
Investigating -- and to the surprise and thrill of everyone -- they found a single cask of Whisky in storage that no one knew about. It was now aged a full 40 years.
It yielded 750 bottles, to the delight of fans and collectors around the world, with a special presentation box and artwork to celebrate. This is one of our favorite stories of all the distilleries we have surveyed.
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Bunnahabhain sits northeast of the island of Islay, where the Jura peninsula reaches out to meet it, across the Sound of Islay.
Where most distilleries write paragraphs about the smallest historical detail, Bunnahabhain doesn't talk much about their past. We know that the distillery was founded by William Robertson,and brothers James and William Greenless in 1881, near Port Askaig.
"Bunnahabhain" translates as "river's mouth" and that makes sense. The facility sits just a few steps away from the spot where the small Margadale River, empties into the Sound of Islay. The distillery has been mothballed and reopened several times since then, and was at one point slowed to producing only a few weeks per year.
Quality suffered for decades too, until the Distell Group, who owned the Bunnahabbain distillery, put things under the direct control of master distiller Ian MacMillan. Under Ian’s guidance, Bunnahabhain has transformed itself back into a quality-focused distillery.
Nasty things like chill-filtering, and artificial coloring became taboo, and the historic quality returned to the brand once again. Bunnahabhain is a classic, lightly peated single malt in the Islay style. Of course this means that it is a smoky, peaty man's drink in all the best ways which such words can be applied.
Interestingly, of the 2.4 million liters of production, only 21,000 casks are kept at the local rickhouses for maturation into their signature single malts, and their famous "Black Bottle Blend," -- a blended Scotch that contains Whisky from all of the distilleries on Islay. The Black Bottle brand is owned by Bunnahabhain. All the rest is sold to other blends across Scotland.
CountryUnited Kingdom, Scotland
No. of stills2 wash, 2 spirit
AddressBunnahabhain Distillery, Port Askaig, Isle of Islay PA46 7RP, United Kingdom