Deriving from the Gaelic for â€˜mouth of the riverâ€™, Bunnahabhain was founded in 1881 by William Robertson and brothers James and William Greenless. A very smooth, easy-drinking Islay malt, Bunnahabhain (pronounced â€˜BOO-na-HAvenâ€™) closed and reopened twice during the twentieth century and eventually production was limited to a mere few weeks annually following Edrington's 1999 acquisition of previous owners Highland Distillers.
In 2003, Edrington sold Bunnahabhain to Burn Stewart Distilleries for Â£10 million. Included in this deal was the popular blend Black Bottle, whose contents feature a quantity of spirit from every distillery on Islay. Today, production stands at 2.5million litres a year. Of this, 21,000 casks are kept at the distillery for maturation and the resultant whisky will be used for the Black Bottle blend and for bottling as Bunnahabhain single malt. The rest of the outturn is sent for maturation elsewhere. In relative solitude, Bunnahabhain is the Northern-most Islay distillery. It sits in a large bay to the North East of the isle, drawing its water from the Margadale Spring.
Nose: Salted caramel leading to sticky toffee pudding sprinkled with nutmeg. With time a leathery quality emerges.
Palate: Dense, rich sherried notes perked up with a coastal saltiness. On a second wave roast chestnuts emerge and gentle wood spice.
Finish: Woodspice becomes mixed spice. The finish is warming and lengthy; salt and sherry towards the very end.