Bunnahabhain Unveils Limited Edition Expressions Including Rare Peated Malt

Pedro Ximenez Bottle Shot

Islay’s most remote distillery, Bunnahabhain has unveiled two new limited edition expressions – a peated Bunnahabhain 2004 Moine Brandy Finish and an unpeated Bunnahabhain 2003 Pedro Ximénez Finish.

The 2004 Moine Brandy Finish is a peated malt that has latterly been matured in brandy casks, which is a first for the distillery. Bottled at 55.7%, the naturally coloured whisky has a complex and intriguing nose of honeyed nuts and rich oak, with hints of dried fruit and grapes, and a smoky peppery finish. Truly distinctive, it has a rich and smooth palate, created by a perfect balance of dried fruit, rich brandy influence and strong smokiness with a lingering sweet finish. The malt has been released to select markets with an RRP of £80.

The second release, a 2003 Pedro Ximénez Finish, is in Bunnahabhain’s more traditional style, an unpeated malt finished in limited edition Pedro Ximénez butts. The rich, syrupy malt has a sweet nose of toffee, dried fruit, nuts and chocolate. Bottled at 54.8%, this exceptional whisky is golden in colour, reflecting a deep palate of Pedro Ximénez influence with a taste of toffee, honeyed nuts and notes of raisins and sultanas creating a deliciously long and sweet finish. It will be sold at an RRP of £85.

Bunnahabhain’s location at the northernmost tip of the sound of Islay ensures that all of the on-site warehouses are continually exposed to the seaside elements. This means every bottle of Bunnahabhain has an indelible mark from the sea and a coastal influence, creating to a selection of malts that truly express their geography. This signature salty brine of Bunnahabhain lends itself particularly well to new cask finishes such as the latest releases from the distillery.

Derek Scott, Brand Director – Malt Whisky, at Distell said: “These latest limited editions give whisky enthusiasts the opportunity to experience unique malts from a truly special distillery.”

“We are extremely proud to showcase our gently peated malt, the 2004 Moine Brandy Finish. The influence of the brandy casks in its final years of maturation has created a wonderful richness and complex palate that really complements the salty character of Bunnahabhain.”

“Our 2003 Pedro Ximénez has been finished in hand-selected sherry casks creating a unique combination of the classic elegant style of Bunnahabhain contrasted by a sweet note drawn from the sherried wood. This has become a favourite of our Distillery Manager, Andrew Brown – having worked in the distillery for over 30 years, he’s certainly qualified to pick a great Bunnahabhain dram!”

From Brittany To Bunnahabhain: Artists ‘Seas The Day’ As They Set Sail In Boat Which Will Become Whisky Barrels


Bunnahabhain Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky announces Hogshead 733 – a collaboration with contemporary artists Maxime Berthou and Mark Požlep to produce the first ever whisky finished in casks made from a former fishing boat.

The two men have embarked on an epic 733 mile sailing quest which will see them battle the high seas from Trebeurden in Brittany, France, all the way to Bunnahabhain Distillery in Islay. Inspired by adventure, craftsmanship and love of whisky, Maxime and Mark have spent the last two years painstakingly restoring a wooden, Brittany fishing vessel from 1941 back to its former glory.    

Bunnahabhain is steeped in seafaring history, with the whisky’s iconic Helmsman and his maritime stories having inspired the brand for generations.

Set to arrive in Islay at the end of September, the journey will not stop there. Soaked with adventures and the salty sea water, the oak boat will be dismantled and carefully crafted into handmade whisky casks. The casks will be filled with Bunnahabhain and the precious spirit will then be finished in the casks before being bottled and sold.

Maxime Berthou said: “The inspiration for this project stems from the human longing for new discoveries and nostalgia for traditional, handmade craftsmanship, something we’ve moved away from in today’s modern society.

“For Mark and me, this is a journey about transformation, adventure, passion, labour and whisky. It has taken us two years to get to this stage and we are excited to finally be on our way to Bunnahabhain.”

Alison Gibb, Global Marketing Manager at Burn Stewart said:

“We are really excited to announce the Hogshead 733 collaboration with Maxime and Mark. Bunnahabhain, with its rich tradition of nautical tales, makes us a natural partner for the project. We wish them lots of luck on their journey and look forward to welcoming them at Bunnahabhain Distillery.”   

Follow Mark and Maxime’s journey on Bunnahabhain’s Twitter (@bunnahabhain) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/Bunnahabhain).


The latest release from Bunnahabhain see’s one of the oldest whisky expressions I’ve ever personally had the pleasure of experiencing; (meaning “The great waves of the God Lìr), itself the oldest expression launched by the brand.

It’s said that during the winter months, the distillery warehouses wich are situated close to the sea on the north‐eastern coast of Islay, are often enveloped by the raging seas. Bunnahabhain 46 year is named after the God Lìr, the powerful ruler of the sea in Gaelic mythology, who used his great white waves to wash ashore his most precious gifts.

Pretty cool eh?

I dive in (pun intended) to the history of Bunnahabhain to set the scene before sitting down with a dram of their newest dram.

In 1879, the Islay Distillery Company was set up by William Robertson, James Ford, James Watson Greenlees and John Marshall to construct a new distillery on the Sound of Islay. The Bunnahabhain Distillery (pronounce Boon-a-havn) was built 1881 and lies on the north–eastern tip of Islay. It officially opened in 1882 and the following year full production began. In 1887 it merged with William Grant and Co. to form Highland Distillers, yet in 1930, the decision was taken to close as the recession deepened and unemployment accelerated within all the industries but seven years later, the distillery re-opened.

To contribute to expansion, a second pair of stills were added in 1963 to produce whisky for blending purposes. The distillery was unfortunately mothballed from 1982 until 1984, and sold to Burn Stewart Distillers in 2003.

Bunnahabhain Range

Bunnahabhain is rather unique in that it is milder than most Islay whiskies. This is due to the water they use that rises through limestone and is transported by pipeline to the distillery. This stops it picking up any peat flavours on the way. The fine malted barley is never heavily peated either, and the sea facing warehouses provide the perfect environment for maturing.

So despite a rather inconsistent history, its uniqueness has shone through, and below I give to you my tasting notes on its core range, and the new 46 year –

Bunnahabhain 12yr – 46.3%

Launched in 1979, gentle smoke on the nose, with a deep, bold fresh forest floor aroma coming through. Light on the palate with slow hints of nuts and fruit that leads to a sweet finish.

Bunnahabhain 18yr – 46.3%

Launched in 2006, burnt smoke on the nose, with a deep honey bacon aroma. Smooth on the palate with a sense of nut and spice with a dry finish.

Bunnahabhain 25yr – 46.3%

Launched in 2006, on the nose, it’s light with some caramel tones and sea salt. Very light as it hits the palate with lots of malt and sweetness mixing well for a long finish.

Bunnahabhain 46 year “Eich Bhana Lìr” – 41.8%

Light green apple on the nose with notes of honey heather and dry orange peel. A burst of light berry once onto the palate, with hints of lemon, dry walnut and leather which leads to a fresh, long finish of bold bursts.

The 25 year is a personal highlight, one worthy of a special occasion or indeed a fitting end to a meal, but the 46 year is something special, and the bottle itself will have your fellow whisky evangelists talking.


© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.