Pronounced ‘Boo-Na-Ha-venn’ and built in 1881 by William Robertson and brothers James and William Greenless, this is the most northerly distillery on the Isle of Islay.
The name Bunnahabhain is Gaelic for ‘mouth of the river’, a reference to the distillery’s location on the mouth of the River Margadale where it flows into the bay of Bunnahabhain, on the northern-eastern coast of the island of Islay, overlooking the famous Paps of Jura.
Until 2012, when 20% of production was put over to peated barley, the peat content in Bunnahabhain came solely from that carried in the water sourced from the Margadale Spring, which rises through the valley a mile to the north of the distillery. So while 20% of production is now peated, no peat is used in the majority of the malting of the barley used at Bunnahabhain.
The distillery has a large capacity with a 12.5 tonne traditional stainless steel mash tun, 6 Oregon pine washbacks with a capacity of 110,000, two pairs of gas-fired stills. Bunnahabhain is casked and stored on-site in the distillery’s warehouses in Islay. It is a major part of the Black Bottle blend and also marketed as a single malt.
In 2003 Bunnahabhain was sold to Burn Stewart Distilleries (CL Financial) for £10 million.