Bunnahabhain distillery was founded in 1881 by William Robertson and the Greenless brothers William and James. Production started in earnest in 1883 and in 1887 the distillery was integrated into Highland Distilleries Company Ltd. Production continued uninterruptedly until 1982 when the distillery was closed for two years. It was reopened in 1984 and in 1989 was acquired by the Edrington Group. In 2003 Bunnahabhain distillery was sold to Burn Stewart Distillers, together with the 'Black Bottle' brand. This expression was bottled by Specialty Drinks Ltd, having been ‘approved’ by Hideo Yamaoka.
The nose is surprisingly smoky and quite fruity. Vanilla, lemon and honey flavours are all there, followed by hints of smoked ham and a touch of iodine.
The palate is medium-bodied, rather spicy and smoky. The lemon flavours are back, now accompanied by pineapple and a sweet maltiness. With water the spiciness diminishes and notes of brine appear.
The finish is of medium length and very dry. Flavours of lemon and white pepper round this off.
Tasted blindly I would never say that this is a Bunnahabhain. It is nicely smoky, and a drop of water brings out the very best in it. This was fun!