The Threeway: 3 single malt whisky recipes with Bunnahabhain Stiùireadair

Proximo Spirits whisky specialist, Andrew Ratcliff.
Proximo Spirits whisky specialist, Andrew Ratcliff. Photo: Christopher Pearce

This month in the Threeway, we’ve got a fixin’ for some single malt whisky mixing. We’ve written before about how single malt gets overlooked when it comes to whisky cocktails; more often than not the bottle you grab will be something blended, or one of those whiskeys — spelt with an ‘e’ — from the USA or Ireland.

But single malt can be just as versatile as those drams, and — when it’s a drop like this one — it can benefit the drink so that the mix is more than the sum of its parts.

We think that in this case, that’s partly to do with just how the Bunnahabhain Stiùireadair is produced: there is a distinct briny note to this whisky, and that’s thanks to the time it spends ageing by the coast at the distillery on the Scottish island of Islay. Unlike other Islay distilleries, Bunnahabhain is known for being a distinctly unpeated single malt and it’s this characteristic of the whisky which allows the sense of place — they mature their whisky at the distillery in shoreline warehouses that are continually exposed to the elements — to come through. And it’s this briny note that helps the other flavours in the drink to pop.

That means that the Bunnahabhain Stiùireadair not only stands up in a rich drink like the Islay Alexander that Andrew Ratcliff, whisky specialist for Proximo Australia (pictured above), has given us; it also means that the whisky provides pop to a simpler mix like the Whisky Ginger on the below. As ever, use these recipes — and this great dram — as a jump-off point for your own mixing.

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The Banter

  • Established in 1881 and built close to the mouth of the Margadale river, Bunnahabhain is the only distillery on Islay to produce whisky using pure spring water.
  • It’s also the most northerly of the Islay distilleries, situated as it is on the northeast tip of the island.
  • Bunnahabhain Stiùireadair is made using unpeated malted barley, and is aged in first and second fill sherry casks with spirit of varying ages and warehouse locations to construct a dram that truly exposes the coastal nature of the Bunnahabhain single malt whisky.
Bunnahabhain Stiùireadair.

Tasting notes
Bunnahabhain Stiùireadair (pronounced stew-rah-dur, we’re told), has hints of brine, spice, nuts and vanilla on the nose. On the palage, there’s a creamy mouthfeel with dried fruits, sea salt, caramel and gentle spice on the palate. It’s perfect for mixing in a range of cocktailing applications. Proximo Australia