Bunnahabhain Islay Whisky Distillery
Pronounced Boo-na-Haven this stalwart of the Islay whisky industry was founded in 1881 in a cooperative led by William Robertson of Glasgow and the Greenless brothers form the Islay Distillers Company. The location is on the mouth of the Margadale River and the translation of Bunnahabhain from Gaelic is ‘mouth of the river’. This location on the shores of Bunnahabhain bay is a beautiful one overlooking the sounds of Islay which is the channel between Islay and Jura with the ‘Paps of Jura’ (twin mountains) in the background.
In 1887 Bunnahabhain was one of the founding members of the Highland Distillery Company and not until the 1970’s was single malt released. Like many distilleries Single Malt Whisky was merely and ingredient in the more popular blended whisky. In the case of Bunnahabhain it was mainly used for the popular blend ‘Black Bottle’. The popularity of Black Bottle led to the number of stills being increased in the sixties. The distillery has not been in production throughout this period and as recently as 2003 when Burn Stewart Distilleries purchased Bunnahabhain from Erdington (who had purchased from The Highland Distillery Company) did production increase considerably.
At Bunnahabhain they use non peated malted barley and the water supply does not flow through any peat. Some independent bottlers have however produced some peated whiskies at this distillery. Now 21,000 casks are matured onsite for Black Bottle blended whisky and Bunnahabhain single malt whisky, the rest going to other locations for maturation.
Taste: Unlike some its neighbours this is an easy drinking whisky with no peat and a hint of salt from years breathing in the sea air.
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