Drink firm Distell International has unveiled a new master distiller for its single malt and blended whisky portfolio.
Brendan McCarron – previously head of maturing whisky stocks at Glenmorangie – is now heading up whisky-making at Distell’s Bunnahabhain, Tobermory and Deanston distilleries, as well as looking after production for the firm’s Scottish Leader and Black Bottle blends.
He joins South African-owned Distell just in time for the Feis Ile festival, or the Islay Festival of Music and Malt, from May 28 to June 4.
The event is taking place solely online for a second consecutive year.
Bunnahabhain has released a collection of limited edition expressions for the festival, which will feature two virtual tastings live from the world-renowned distillery on Islay.
A series of virtual Feis at Home events will also be hosted around the world, with whisky lovers as far away as China getting the chance to meet the distillery team.
Mr McCarron takes over his post from Stephen Woodcock, who is now head of whisky creation and stocks at Speyside single malt producer Glen Moray.
Sarah McKeeman, global brand manager for Bunnahabhain Distillery said: “We’re really pleased to welcome Brendan McCarron as our new master distiller.
“His appointment ushers in a new chapter for the malt’s portfolio, and he’s already working on some really interesting projects which we know our community will love.
Feis Ile bottlings and tasting kits are available from the Bunnahabhain website and all of the distillery’s events, including an introduction to the whisky-maker’s house style and new master distiller, will be broadcast live on the brand’s Facebook page.
Established in 1881 and situated on Islay’s most northerly point, Bunnahabhain is the island’s most remote distillery, overlooking a notorious passage of ocean known by seafarers as the sound of Islay.
It has long-established links to the sea, previously only accessible by boat, with ships loaded up daily before transporting their important whisky cargo back to the mainland for sale.
The word “Bunnahabhain” is Gaelic for “mouth of the river”, referring to the Margadale River, the distillery’s source of pure spring water which is distilled in the island’s tallest stills to create the single malt.
Bunnahabhain goes against the grain – quite literally – with a portfolio made up of broadly non-peated whiskies, however, its peated Toiteach A Dha expression recently won in the Scotch Islay “no age statement” category at this year’s World Whiskies Awards. Bunnahabhain took home a further four titles in the 2020 awards, ranging from silver to gold certificates