Bunnahabhain

Bunnahabhain was founded in 1881 on the ruggest northeastern coast of the Isle of Islay. Robertson & Baxter in partnership with the Greenlees Brothers incorporated as ' Islay Distillery Company Ltd' and in 1887 became 'Highland Distillers' (a forerunner of Edrington Group). Bunnahabhain has always produced a lot of its whisky to be destined for blending. This includes some world famous blends such as Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark and later, Black Bottle. The distillery (and Black Bottle brand) were bought by Burn Stewart in 2003 and are as of 2013 now owned by South African based Distell.

Distillery Bottlings

Posted 08 May 2018

We’ve had to wait quite some time for An Cladach – its been 9 months since this new travel retail bottling was first announced – whether the distillery or parent company Distell have had production issues, or whether the PR agency hit ‘go’ on the press release all too soon, who’s to say – but, regardless, it’s far from the best method for introducing a new expression into the increasingly busy (and often times odd) space that is global travel retail. Nevertheless, An Cladach is now looking like it’s finally ready to dock following a month of exclusivity at Frankfurt airport.


Posted 01 May 2018

Gaelic for ‘peat stack’ Cruach Mhona continues a recent Bunnahabhain trend for completely unpronounceable whisky names. Whilst in 2018, peated Bunna (often termed ‘Moine’ by the distillery itself) is a fairly regularly sight, back in 2010 when Cruach Mhona was first released, it was all a touch more tentative when it came to peating. Over the past 8 years, the volume of peated whisky released by the distillery has steadily increased, and bottlings such as Toiteach and Ceobanach have paved the way for a dual future for Bunnahabhain – unpeated still at its core, but with a healthy pipeline of smokier expressions.


Posted 01 August 2017

As of writing, Bunnahabhain is undergoing a large-scale £11m renovation effort. Wash Still no.1 has had a new Forsyths-made upper half installed, and there are plans to upgrade the distillery buildings and warehouses over the next three years. Whilst described in several places as 'scruffy' I have always found the distillery to exhibit an oddly appealing Victorian workhouse charm - you can read more about that here. In the meantime Bunnahabhain have a range of new and exciting release for us over the next few months to look forward to.


Posted 27 April 2017

Bunnahabhain is more commonly known for its lightly peated and unpeated expressions, but over the last few year's they've been experimenting with their 'moine'  ('peat' in Scots Gaelic) and have released a range of whiskies with more of a peaty kick. Today we're taking a look at one of these in the form of the fairly unpronounceable Toiteach ('toch-chach' I'm reliably told).


Posted 03 November 2017

Bunnahabhain’s 12 year old was given a welcome makeover in 2010 with the ABV increased up to 46.3%, a move to non-chill filtration and natural colouring, and a new opaque smoked glass bottle design. Recently, the distillery has had a very subtle branding change (they’ve joined up the letters of Bunnahabhain) and introduced the new Stiureadair as, what’s described as a ‘partial replacement’ for the 12 year old – meaning a release of a similar style to ease some of the pressure that is presumably being currently made of their stocks sherry casks. Nevertheless, presently the 12 year old is still readily available.


Posted 16 March 2018

The 2004 Moine Brandy Finish is a first for Bunnahabhain. Whilst the distillery has experimented with somewhat comparable casks in the past (cognac in the Taiwan exclusive ‘Frenchman’s Rocks’ for example), this is a maiden outing for brandy casks being used to finish their peated (‘Moine’) distillate. The release is a 13 year old whisky that has spent 10 years in ex-sherry butts before being finished in French brandy casks for three years. It is botted at 55.7% ABV and is a release of 6,000 bottles with an RRP of £80.


Posted 16 March 2018

The 2003 Pedro Ximenez Finish is a 14 year old whisky bottled at 54.8% ABV. It has spent 11 years in 2nd fill sherry butts before being transferred into 1st fill PX casks for 3 years of finishing. Sherry on top of sherry – you should be able to guess the direction this one is going in. It is a release of 5,000 bottles and has an RRP of £85.


Posted 03 November 2017

Similarly to the Bunnahabhain 12 year old, the 18 year old had its ABV upped to 46.3% and dropped the use of caramel colourant in 2010. Since this relaunch, the bottling has achieved wide-spread acclaim, though that has seen the price rise somewhat – from around £70 in 2016 to nearly to £100 as of writing. Nevertheless, that still remains in the same region as many 18 year olds from other distilleries.


Posted 22 October 2018

The 1997 Bunnahabhain is the most expensive of Distell’s 2018 limited releases. It’s also one of the last to reach the market. Packaging issues have been cited as delayed the release of this eagerly anticipated expression – fair enough – the nice box does look nice. It’s now starting to hit the shelves and with just 1620 bottles (with a mere 300 allocated to the UK market), it will no doubt sell out in double time.


Posted 03 November 2017

Bunnahabhain 25 year old is the pinnacle of the distillery’s core range. Already well regarded when it was bottled at 43% like the 12 and 18 year olds, it moved to a new regime of higher ABVs (46.3%), non-chill filtering and natural colouring in 2011. Hoorah. The bottling comes in a very solid alder wood box with hessian lining and brass latches – whilst we’re not here to champion packaging (liquid is our purview), it’s a suitably stylish container for a high-end expression.


Independent Bottlings

A.D. Rattray


Posted 13 June 2018

This 15 year old Bunnahabhain was matured for over 14 years in an ex-bourbon cask before being subjected to an additional 5 months of finishing in a specially commissioned oloroso sherry Octave.


Posted 13 June 2018

This 15 year old Bunnahabhain was matured for over 14 years in an ex-bourbon cask before being subjected to an additional 5 months of finishing in a specially commissioned PX Sherry Octave.


Posted 13 June 2018

This 15 year old Bunnahabhain was matured for over 14 years in an ex-bourbon cask before being subjected to an additional 5 months of finishing in a specially commissioned Rioja Octave.


Posted 13 June 2018

This 15 year old Bunnahabhain was matured for over 14 years in an ex-bourbon cask before being subjected to an additional 5 months of finishing in a specially commissioned rum Octave.


Boutique-y


Posted 15 December 2017

Master of Malt really are wonderful chaps – my Bunnahabhain was sadly missing in action from the Boutique-y Advent calendar (accidentally replaced with a duplicate of Saturday’s upcoming dram). A short conversation later, and here it is first thing this morning ready for tasting – thanks guys! This is the oldest Bunna from Boutique-y so far, coming in at 35 years of age – seemingly it wouldn’t have lasted too much longer in the cask as the ABV is right on the cusp at 40.2%.


Douglas Laing


Posted 15 August 2018

Douglas Laing’s XOP (Extra Old Particular) is described as the ‘big brother’ to the well-known Old Particular range from this independent bottler. The selection of single malts and single grains which make up this series of single cask bottlings are drawn from the company’s ‘family jewels’ – they’re invariably older, rarer and always worth keeping an eye out for in terms of a special treat. As with many independent bottlers, you’ll find that the prices for particularly aged-whiskies are much lower relative to original distillery bottlings - as such, they’re a good target for those looking for birth year whiskies – particularly if you’re getting a bit long in the tooth and were born in the 1970s.


James MacArthur


Posted 16 August 2018

James MacArthur’s Fine Malt Selection ran from the early 1990’s all the way through to 2014 with some 343 separate bottlings (according to Whiskybase). The series covered a huge selection of Scottish distilleries – a fair of which are now permanently closed – including the unicorn distillery Malt Mill. MacArthur’s 10 year old Malt Mill  (the only bottling known in existence from this distillery) originated from a blender’s sample – as such, there are only four 50cl miniatures out there. One of them sold on Scotch Whisky Auctions earlier this year for £3,400 (plus fees).


Malts of Scotland


Posted 14 September 2017

Today marks a small landmark for The Dramble – our 100th tasting note. We’ve already had some real highs (Balvenie Tun 1401) and some incredible lows (Fujikai 10 year old) along our journey, but Danny and I would both like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the support you’ve given us since our launch back in April 2017. To celebrate our landmark tasting note, I’ve pulled out something old and interesting for today’s post – Bunnahabhain 1973 38 year old, bottled by Malts of Scotland.


SMWS


Posted 30 November 2017

The monthly SMWS Bunnahabhain is a peated one this time. Distilled in February 2008 this whisky has spent its life in a refill ex-Bourbon barrel. One of 224 bottles. Lightly Peated profile.


Posted 09 November 2017

A Bunnahabhain that’s certainly ‘Moine’ given the dark green flavour profile colour. Distilled on 10th December 2007, this whisky spent 9 years in an ex-Bourbon hogshead and then was transferred to a 2nd fill toasted oak hogshead. Seeing as it’s still listed as 9 year old, it wasn’t in that toasted jobbie for very long. One of 253 bottles.


Posted 03 May 2018

Always good to see Bunnahabhain on the SMWS menu and this month’s outturn has two examples – we’re taking a look at the ‘moine’ version which has been matured for 9 years in a refill ex-bourbon barrel. Peated profile.


Posted 01 June 2018

We saw some excellent port cask Bunnahabhain last year with SMWS 10.118. This one was distilled two years later in 2008 and comes sans peat, but is similarly drawn from a 1st fill ex-port barrique and so has quite a pink hue to it. Oily & Coastal profile.


Posted 14 August 2017

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) underwent somewhat of a rebrand in time for their 35th Anniversary. Still keeping the distinctive green coloured bottles (they don’t want you judging by the colour of the liquid alone), the labelling introduced a colour-coded system of 12 unique flavour profiles which help to define the style of each dram based on its inherent aromas, flavours and regional characteristics. It’s both useful and attractive.


Posted 06 September 2018

All the recent SMWS bottlings from Bunna have fallen into either the Peated or Oily & Coastal Profiles, but not this one! A 10 year old matured in a refill ex-bourbon barrel. Spicy & Dry profile.


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