Bold Bunnahabhain and a treat of Toiteach @BunnahabhainSA #TasteIslay

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Maritime theme…a porthole!

It’s always entertaining when Pierre Meintjies takes the stage and talks whisky. After 40 plus years in the booze business Pierre knows how to showcase his whiskies. It’s pretty easy to do that when he is talking Bunnahbhain to an eager crowd of assorted journos, wine people and whisky wonks (term devised by Neil Pendock). The occasion was the unveiling of the Bunnahabhain display at Bascule Whisky Bar.

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Shane, thinking, Marsh, laughing, Pat, wondering…

I’ve written a few times before about Bunnahabhain so have a read here about the non (or un) chill filtered range. Its one of my favourite whisky ranges. Liquor giant Distell, based here in the Western Cape own the distillery. This strong link has already reaped rewards, in the form of a real treat, the Bunnahbhain Toiteach, not available here in South Africa.

The whiskies are, of course, superb, but you knew that, dear reader. The evening ended with a lively debate between the winos and wonks about corks and screwcaps. The outcome was lost in the mist that rolled in off the ocean. A good night.

The PR company was quite busy and sent me two releases, copied below. If you want to try something from Islay and don’t want to be hit by the peat reek, Bunnahabhain is the whisky for you. Importantly, the whisky provides great value the 12 at R580; 18 at R 900; R2 600 for 25-year-old.

All this talk of whisky…what about love? Congratulations,  Mazaltov and Slainte to Anel & Jan, a very cool couple and couple of wine lovers, who got married a couple of days ago in Las Vegas!  Here they are enjoying a Bunnahabhain.

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Jan & Anel




A few Capetonians were recently treated to a series of exclusive tastings of the luxurious Bunnahabhain range of single malt whiskies at the Bascule Bar. Specialising in premium whiskies of the world, the bar at the Cape Grace Hotel, now has a customised display cabinet showcasing the brand’s award-winning whiskies.

The range of gentle, unpeated single malts is made at the Bunnahabhain Distillery on the Isle of Islay, off the west coast of Scotland. The whiskies are un-chillfiltered for the purest expression of colour, aroma and flavour.

South Africa’s “Mr Whisky”, Pierre Meintjes presented the un-chillfiltered range that is fast building a cult following amongst whisky aficionados. He is one of just 159 Masters of the Quaich in the world, a title conferred by the Keepers of the Quaich and only one of two in South Africa. The honour is conferred in notable recognition of their contribution to the Scotch whisky industry.

Taygan Govinden, the brand’s SA marketing manager, says: “To contrast the unpeated profile of the range, Pierre gave guests the rare opportunity of tasting a peated single malt, made in very limited quantities at Bunnahabhain. This rare peated Bunnahabhain, named Toiteach, is not available in South Africa, but provided a fascinating comparison.”

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Pierre, Lizanne (brand manager) & Taygan


The price of Bunnahabhain ranges from R580 for the 12-year-old, to R900 for the 18-year-old and R2 600 for 25-year-old.


The gentle taste of Bunnahabhain’s connoisseur range of Islay single malts is very much to South Africa’s liking, says Taygan Govinden, marketing manager of this specialist range in South Africa.

“It has developed something of a cult following amongst aficionados, partially because of its relative rarity but also for its singular flavour. Its taste profile is quite unlike the peaty, smoky single malts traditionally associated with Islay. That’s because Bunnahabhain is the only producer of single malts on the island to use a natural spring water source and unpeated barley in the production of its whiskies. It’s untainted by Islay’s peaty moors and so, is lighter on the palate.”

Something else that marks Bunnahabhain as distinctive, he says, is that it is un-chillfiltered.  “This marks a return to a very traditional technique and the reason is that it expresses the whisky in its purest form with a full depth of colour, aroma and flavour – as natural as when it comes out of the casks.”

Despite being a relative newcomer to the highly contested South African single malt market, the range is fast gaining ground, he says. “Stocks are limited but available from strategically identified specialist outlets catering to single malt enthusiasts. Any news of the range’s awards always heightens interest in this market.”

The 25-year-old, at the apex of the locally available range, won gold at the 2014 International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC), while the 12-year-old took double gold at the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, which also awarded a gold to the 18-year-old.

Bunnahabhain, founded in 1881, is pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn and means mouth of the river in Scots Gaelic, referring to the Margadale River that flows close by.

Un-chillfiltering is the way whisky was made before chillfiltration was introduced in the 1970s, primarily for cosmetic reasons. During chillfiltration the temperature of the whisky is dropped to 0°C before forcing it through filters which remove the fatty esters. This produces a “polished” whisky that offers consistency of colour and, when bottled at 43% alcohol by volume, does not become hazy when chilled. But the trade-off is the absence of some of the flavour and character in the final whisky.

The price of Bunnahabhain ranges from R580 to R900 to R2 600 for its 12-, 18- and 25-year-old whiskies respectively.

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