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Distell appoints master distiller for Scotch portfolio

Bunnahabhain owner Distell has named Brendan McCarron as master distiller for its portfolio of single malt and blended Scotch whiskies.

Brendan McCarron, Distell
Brendan McCarron joins Distell after working at The Glenmorangie Company

With a career spanning 15 years in the industry, McCarron joins Distell from his role as head of maturing whisky stocks at The Glenmorangie Company.

Prior to The Glenmorangie Company, McCarron worked at Diageo, where he managed the company’s Islay distilleries including Lagavulin and Caol Ila.

In his new role at Distell, McCarron will oversee whisky production across the Bunnahabhain, Deanston and Tobermory distilleries, as well as the Scottish Leader and Black Bottle blends.

He joins master blender Julieann Fernandez and Bunnahabhain distillery manager Andrew Brown on the Distell team.

Islay distillery Bunnahabhain will host a series of events on Bunnahabhain Day (4 June) during Islay festival Fèis Ìle 2021 (28 May to 5 June), including two live virtual tastings. McCarron will be introduced to Bunnahabhain drinkers during a tasting on the first evening of the festival.

Sarah McKeeman, global brand manager for Bunnahabhain Distillery, said: “We’re really pleased to welcome Brendan McCarron as our new master distiller and excited to introduce him to fans of the distillery on the eve of the festival, discussing Bunnahabhain and its award-winning collection of whiskies.

“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.”

Festival bottlings

Fernandez and Brown have created two limited edition Bunnahabhain single malt whiskies for Fèis Ìle 2021 – a 2013 Moine Bordeaux Finish and a 2001 Marsala Finish. Both expressions have been bottled at a cask strength of 53.6% ABV.

The 2013 Moine Bordeaux Finish whisky has notes of oily peat, rich spices and dark grapes. It is priced at RRP £85 (US$120).

The 2001 Marsala Finish single malt has spent 20 years resting in an ex-Marsala cask, resulting in ‘exotic aromas of cherries, liquorice and tobacco’, and fruit and nuts on the palette. It is priced at RRP £200 (US$282).

McKeeman added: “This year’s limited edition festival expressions are absolutely exquisite. We’ve chosen to showcase one of our rarer lightly peated releases as well as reigniting the 2001 expression by letting it slumber in Marsala casks.”

The limited edition Fèis Ìle bottlings and tasting kits for the festival are available to buy from the Bunnahabhain website. All distillery events will be broadcast live on the brand’s Facebook page.

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