About this SPIRIT
Bunnahabhain Distillery, Islay
Bunnahabhain was established in 1881 on Islay. Pronounced 'Boo-na-ha-ven' and meaning 'mouth of the river', Bunnahabhain is accessible through a winding lane off the main road to Port Askaig. Its distillery is set around a courtyard in a style that resembles a Bordeaux château. Despite expansion in 1963, the distillery has changed little. Bunnahabhain is sometimes referred to as "the Islay whisky without the Islay character” because it is less peaty than other Islay malts. Its light color (for an Islay) is attributable to the spring water being drawn before it runs "over and through" the well-known Islay peat bogs. This quality is further enhanced by the distillery taking only a narrow cut from the second distillation.
The distinctive oiliness of the Bunnahabhain malt is due to the short-necked stills used here. Bunnahabhain is sweeter than the other Islays, with a smooth initial palate and long full finish. In most instances, Bunnahabhain single malt is made of malted barley that has been dried using a fuel source other than peat not to impart any smoky, medicinal, iodine-like flavors. On occasion, Bunnahabhain produces batches of a spirit made of barley that has been imbued with the pungent (some would say acrid) smell of peat smoke as it was drying.
Now owned by CVH Spirits, Bunnahabhain has released a range of finishes in recent years, including Palo Cortado, Manzanilla, and PX finishes, and whisky that has been finished in ex-Burgundy barrels.
(Adapted from the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2024)