- Suggested retail price: $350
- Thursday, February 2 (for as long as it lasts), we're pouring one ounce for $14
Bunnahabhain stands on the shores of the Sound of Islay, which separates Islay from Jura on the East. The ship that seems to be waiting there has been there since 1974, when it ran aground on the rocks. Tourists once bought Bunnahabhain (‘Boon-a-havn’) (or more affectionately 'Boon-a-hobby') almost by mistake on the way to see the ship. It was the top selling brand at the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre in Edinburgh, but in the larger world it was strictly a cult following. It was founded in 1881 – the same year as Bruichladdich – and for the same reason: to meet the rising demand for whisky for the blending industry. Due to the isolated nature of the zone, the first owners had to build roads, houses and grocery shops for the distillery workers, as well as a school for their children. Bunnahabhain became an example of a self-sufficient community.
The malt whiskies produced on the isle of Islay are generally pungent and salty; since 1883, Bunnahabhain has contradicted this. It produces a smooth almost wine-y whisky, with an impressive constancy and regularity. A few years after the construction of Bunnahabhain, the owners joined up with two other distilleries, forming Highland Distilleries. Closed for a short period in the early eighties and re-opened almost immediately, since 1963 Bunnahabhain has operated with two pairs of stills. The whisky is elegant and layered. While softer than most Islay, you still get a whiff of the sea. (info taken from For Whisky Lovers)
This 27 year old was bought in barrel, and then bottled by the Hunter Laing & Co, a family company that was founded by Stewart H. Laing. Stewart started first as a blender, and later as a bottler of some of the finest single cask scotch whiskies in the market. With nearly fifty years in the industry, Stewart learned the whisky business from the ground up, starting as an apprentice at Bruichladdich Distillery. The company's scotch blends were frequently best-sellers in their main markets of Asia and South America. They are now available here.
Stewart's father, Frederick Laing was an exporter who acquired many hundreds of casks from distilleries all over Scotland, providing unrivaled resources. Today, Stewart is joined by his sons Scott and Andrew. Expert single cask bottlers in their own right, they know the importance of selecting the most distinctive casks for the discerning single malt consumer
Thursday evening, we will open one bottle at precisely 6:30. When it's gone, it's gone. I hope to see you there.
Next week in The Spirits Project
Springbank 14 Year Blackadder Raw Cask 2001