Bunnahabhain 1989

Well now, this is something. 31 year old Bunnahabhain is quite a find – even Bunnas in their 20s are quite rare, so one in its third decade is ever rarer. This whisky usually hits excellence between 12-18 years, and so either gets bottled or goes for blending in that period. Older casks present a whisky that is almost chewy with gingery molasses flavours, and are highly prized.

This whisky is old enough that a closer eye should be kept on it. The abv has dropped below 50% and there are about 40 litres of pure alcohol still in the cask, so a few more years of maturation may see the whisky come close to the minimum of 40% abv. This is one to be bottled before too long.

Auction estimate: £40,000 – £45,000

Auction has ended. The winning bidder has been notified.

Cask Details

Age31 years
Distillation DateOctober 23, 1989
Cask TypeHogshead
Re-gauge ABV48.90%
Re-gauge Litre of Alcohol (RLA)40.30 litres
New Bulk Litres82.41 litres
Re-gauge DateNovember 16, 2020
Cask Number5854

Tasting Notes

N/A – No sample was made available.

About The Distillery

Bunnahabhain was founded in 1881 on the east coast of Islay – a large Victorian facility that included shipping infrastructure and worker housing. Despite Islay’s remote location, its status as a powerhouse of Scotch whisky production recommended it as a perfect location to build a bold and large distillery. The distillery has operated almost continuously since its foundation, and a large scale modernisation and sprucing up of the old facilities to bring the distillery back to its former glory.

Bunnahabhain feels like a bit of an innovator on Islay. Unusual in being mostly unpeated, having some of the largest examples of distilling equipment in Scotland and for only filling their stills halfway for increased copper contact, this malt dares to be different. It has stood the test of time, and still produces some of the best beloved and most contrary Islay whisky to this day. Rich, sweet and slightly spicy, Bunnahabhain is often paired with sherry casks for maturation.

Buyer’s note: We cannot offer a photo of this cask due to the regulations on Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations that are imposed in the warehouse.


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Auction Details

  • Bidding will end on December 27th at 5:00pm GMT subject to continuation defined below.
  • If any bid is received within the last 5 minutes of bidding across any of the current auction listings, the entire auction will be extended for an additional 5 minutes. The auction will officially close when a period of 5 minutes has passed without a new bid.
  • All bids represent a legally binding contract to purchase the designated item.
  • The highest bidder at conclusion of the auction will immediately be charged a £500 deposit by credit card; the remaining balance will be due within 72 hours of auction close by bank wire transfer.
  • Failure to send proof of payment within 72 hours will result in a penalty of 1% of the hammer price for each day the payment is delinquent.
  • Upon verification that all funds due have been received, ownership of the cask will be transferred to the buyer and the buyer will be sent a title certificate. As per Scottish regulations, the cask must remain in a government bonded warehouse until bottling.
  • No samples will be provided during the auction.
  • If two bidders place a bid in the same amount, the first bid placed will be the winner.
  • Storage will be included for a period of 2 years from the conclusion of the auction. All other costs related to storage, removal from storage, insurance, transportation, bottling and duties/taxes will be the sole responsibility of the buyer.
  • A reserve price has been set for the auction. If the reserve price is not reached then the seller, in their sole discretion, can choose whether to accept the high bid or may offer a counter offer. All bids placed by buyers are binding, even when the reserve price has not been met, until the seller declines the highest bid.
  • A 10% buyers premium will be added to the highest prevailing bid. No buyers premium will be due if the reserve price is not met and the seller choses not to accept the high bid.