In 1879 the Islay Distillery Company was formed with the purpose to build a new distillery at the coast of ‘Sound of Islay’ near the outlet of the river Margadale. Thusly it got the most secluded placement on Islay along with the most difficult name (pronounced Bun na h-Abhainn). The distillery produced the easiest and most delicate of all the whiskeys on the island.
The building of the distillery itself began in 1881 - the official founding year - and in the following years the full production began. In 1887 the Islay Distillery Company joined together with Glen Rothes Distillery, to make The Highland Distilleries Co Ltd, which later became a part of Edrington Group.
Today - 125 years later - Bunnahabhain belongs to Burn Stewart Distillers - and Angostura! - whom with this overtake was also given the ‘cult’ blend Black Bottle.
Bunnahabhain - the Gaelic word for ’the outlet of the river’ - received a very deserved face lift and a big ‘quality lift’ with these developments. Thus, the new packaging is now adorned with the text from Islay’s national anthem “Westering Home” and at the same time the distillery began to only drain in 46,3% alcohol - non-chill filtered - to maintain and preserve all the delicate taste nuances in Bunnahabhain.
Owner: Region/district: Burn Stewart Distillers Islay
Founded: Status: Capacity:
1881 Active (vc) 2 500 000 litres
Address: Port Askaig, Islay, Argyll PA46 7RP
01496 840646 www.bunnahabhain.com
1881 – William Robertson of Robertson & Baxter, founds the distillery together with the brothers William and James Greenless, owners of Islay Distillers Company Ltd.
1883 – Production starts in earnest in January.
1887 – Islay Distillers Company Ltd merges with William Grant & Co. in order to form Highland Distilleries Company Limited.
1963 – The two stills are augmented by two more.
1982 –The distillery closes.
1984 – The distillery reopens. A 21 year old is released to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Bunnahabhain.
1999 – Edrington takes over Highland Distillers and mothballs Bunnahabhain but allows for a few weeks of production a year.
2001 – A 35 year old from 1965 is released in a limited edition of 594 bottles during Islay Whisky Festival.
2002 – As in the previous year, Islay Whisky Festival features another Bunnahabhain – 1966, a 35 year old in sherry casks. Auld Acquaintance 1968 is launched at the Islay Jazz Festival.
2003 – In April Edrington sells Bunnahabhain and Black Bottle to Burn Stewart Distilleries (C. L. World Brands) at the princely sum of £10 million. A 40 year old from 1963 is launched.
2004 – The first limited edition of the peated version is a 6 year old called Moine.
2005 – Three limited editions are released - 34 years old, 18 years old and 25 years old.
2006 – 14 year old Pedro Ximenez and 35 years old are launched.
2008 – Darach Ur is released for the travel retail market and Toiteach (a peated 10 year old) is launched on a few selected markets.
2009 – Moine Cask Strength is released during Feis Isle.
2010 – The peated Cruach-Mhòna and a limited 30 year old are released.
The above timeline is a quote from Malt Whisky Year Book, written by author Ingvar Ronde, we thank you for your inspirational work - Buy the latest copy of the book here!
The book is written by Ingvar Ronde in English, with contributions from many whisky experts, just to name a few: Chris Bunting, Gavin D Smith, Ian Buxton, Charles MacLean, Dominic Roskrow, Colin Dunn and Neil Ridley.
The 2012 edition has been extended by 24 pages to a total of 300 pages. Malt Whisky Yearbook 2012 tells you everything you need to know about the Scottish, Irish and Japanese distilleries, flavored with more than 500 pictures. Additionally, there is a detailed walkthrough of brand new and planned distilleries, along with distilleries from countries we do not usually associate with whisky.
Shortly put, Malt Whisky Yearbook 2012 is a fantastic piece of reference, which will tell you everything you need to know about the malt whisky of the world - and more!