The Bunnahabhain distillery lies on the peaceful, sheltered north-eastern coast of Islay, the most southerly of the Hebridean Islands. Built in 1881 its name comes from the Gaelic, Bunnahabhain (Bu-na-ha-venn), meaning â€˜mouth of the riverâ€™, a reference to the Margadale, the river from whose clear spring waters the whisky is distilled.
These waters tumble though ancient sandstone rocks from high in the surrounding mountains trapping the water so it doesnâ€™t run through the peat beds as at other distilleries on the Island.
A very lightly peated malted barley is then used for distillation before ageing in cask for 12 years. This is why Bunnahabhain is known as the more subtle of the Islay Malts, with a distinctive oiliness and whiff of sea air that set it apart from the almost universally peaty whiskies that are produced on the island. While the distillery does now also release smoky drams, it's the distinctively oily and almost entirely unpeated whisky that has made its name with whisky fans around the world.
2010 marked a historic moment in the evolution of Bunnahabhain as the whiskies returned to being produced non-chillfiltered and with a natural colour at 46.3% â€“ just as they had been in the old days.