John Watling’s Distillery crafts its Bahamian products from hand-cut sugarcane molasses. The molasses is fermented then distilled in both pot and continuous stills. It is then charcoal filtered, sometimes married, and aged in the tropical heat in one time used bourbon or sherry barrels.
While the distillate used for the vodka is filtered through the pink sands of Eleuthera, the rums are left to age at the Buena Vista Estate for up to 8 years. After ageing, the product is hand blended by Bahamians into different expressions by John Watling’s Distillery.
Bahamians aren’t the only residents here. Roosters, hens and other exotic species of birds call the Buena Vista Estate home. As you enjoy your cocktail under centuries-old Black Olive trees you can hear and see the different birds flying from treetop to treetop.
The Buena Vista Estate is tied to bird conservation since the 1940s when Arthur Stannard Vernay moved to Nassau and co-founded the Bahamas National Trust and Society for the Preservation of the Flamingo. Vernay lived to the property to the West of the Buena Vista Estate called Los Cayos. There he entertained the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Axel Wenner-Gren who hosted English author Ian Flemming.
Vernay worked with Audubon expert Robert Porter Allen who scoured the Caribbean searching for flamingos. In his popular book, On the Trail of Vanishing Birds, Allen found that the colonies on the island of Andros in The Bahamas had already disappeared. He determined that the largest surviving group of Caribbean Flamingos inhabited the isolated back-waters of Lake Rosa on Inagua. That is where Allen and the Audubon Society decided to make a stand. A group of influential backers were recruited in Nassau to form a Society for the Protection of the Flamingo, with Arthur Vernay as its leader. Two wardens were hired on Inagua, brothers Samuel and James Nixon, and Audubon helped finance the entire operation. Today the park is administered by The Bahamas National Trust.
At the Buena Vista Estate, bird watchers enjoy close encounters with our chickens and with many different species of birds that nest in our centuries-old Black Olive trees. Birds seen at the Estate include the Bahamas Woodstar, Loggerhead Kingbird, White Crown Pigeon, Cuban Emerald, Bahamas Mockingbird and West Indian Woodpecker amongst others.