Men like the helmsman on our bottle risked their lives for Bunnahabhain. Today life is a little easier. But only a touch! Our heritage and the desire for perfection inbuilt into each of us here demands that we push the artisan process to its limits to create a truly exceptional and unique single malt whisky. It’s worth it though for the smile on the face of the whisky enthusiasts who have discovered this idyllic place and the accommodating taste of Islay for which it is synonymous.
For example, to date George, our stillman, has overseen two full caskings of our 12 year old, while some of the credit for our 25 year old must surely go to Lillian, the office administrator, who had already been working in the distillery for a few years (she wouldn’t tell us how many) when the first batch was casked.
You might say they like to stick around to see how it turns out and we are glad they do.
Andrew Brown 'The Navigator'
Andrew is Distillery Manager at Bunnahabhain, but here, surrounded by unforgiving seas, we prefer to call him ‘The Navigator’. Over his 22 years at the distillery he’s worked every part of the good ship Bunnahabhain and now enjoys responsibility for the day-to-day running of the distillery. Being a man of many talents and tales, he also conducts tours and gives visitors the kind of welcome you’d expect from such a heart-warming whisky.
Lillian ‘The General’ MacArthur
Some tales aren’t just told, they’re sung. That’s why we have Lillian as Office Administrator and unofficial resident singer. For over 36 years, her office warblings have resounded throughout the distillery.
The Moving Stillman
Tales are made of movement and changes. And Robin Morton’s had his fair share. Robin started at Bunnahabhain as Tunroom man in 1978. Back then, he scrubbed the washbacks, mixed yeast and assisted the mashman and stillmen. He then spent several seasons learning the art of the Mashhouse before sadly leaving the Bunnahabhain nest. Thankfully though he flew swiftly back, becoming our stillman – the stillman who has done a lot of roving.
‘Long’ John McGillvary
With our seafaring links you might think that John gets his nickname from the high seas but should you meet him it becomes clear: you see, John has a few feet on the rest of us. ‘Long’ John keeps a watchful eye over our spirit as it is casked and stored.
Bunnahabhain offers a quiet and safe berth for some of the local fishermen who land lobster, crab and tall tales on our pier.
The Whisky Making Process
Tales and records have it that our malt has started life the same way since 1881, with good malted barley, pure Margadale spring water, a little yeast and a sprinkling of adventure.