Bunnahabhain Toiteach Review

“The Birth of the Peabees”

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bunnahabhain Toiteach
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
ABV: 46 %

Colour: Light Gold 

Nose: This is as close to Peated Biscuits as you can get. I don't think they exist so I will solemnly christen them Peabees from now on. I find Sweet Peat, Hay, Toasted Barley, light Smoke, Dirty Earth, Rubber, Old Leather, Salted Butter, Toasted Nuts, Warm Apple, Toffee, Dried Fruits, light Vanilla, light Oak and light Spices. The Sherry Cask influence is limited but it does give something extra to the relatively young and slightly rough Spirit. It's a pity that the Alcohol is far from being integrated. Still, I like the Nose of the Toiteach. 

Palate: Good Delivery thanks to the correct ABV. It's rather Sweet but tasty with Smoked Barley, Sweet Peat, Dried Fruits, Toffee, Caramel, Nuts, Rubber, Salted Butter, Vanilla, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Leather and Apples.

Finish: Quite Long and a little Hot. Sweet at first but Dry towards the end. I find Dirty Earth, Ashes, Rubber, Charred Oak, Sweet Peat, Pepper, Salt, Malt, Straw and lightly Smoked Meat. The Alcohol is a bit strong here. 

I added a couple of drops of water. On the Nose I find some extra Fruit. Could be Plums. In general, the Nose softens up. It's not at all bad but this way you loose much of the ruggedness I like in young Islay Whisky. Palate and Finish soften up as well. I prefer it neat but you can certainly add a few drops if you want it a little less Hot and Nasty.

Rating: 86.5 

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5

General Remarks: Bunnahabhain (Mouth or Foot of the River) Distillery was founded around 1881 and is located close to Port Askaig. Usually, the Distillery dries the Malt with hot air or light Smoke, giving their whisky a more subtle flavour then most of its Peated neighbours on the island. The Toiteach (Gaelic for Smoky and pronounced as Toch Chach) however is one of the few peated Bunnahabhain expressions. It probably matures for around 10 Years and is finished in Ex-Sherry Casks. It comes Un-Chill Filtered and costs around 90 US Dollars (May 2015).

Drinking Experience Neat: Very Nice! 

Conclusion: I feel the urge to return to Scotland and visit Bunnahabhain again. Unfortunately it was closed during our visit to Islay in May last year and we only managed to shoot a couple of pictures outside in the rain. But this Toiteach is a whisky to be enjoyed in the warm and cosy Visitor Centre on a cold and windy Islay day. I suppose you've guessed already that I kinda like this Bunnahabhain expression. It has its flaws for sure as it's Young, Edgy and slightly Hot. But the ABV is correct and the Spirit is not Chill-Filtered. The Sherry finish did add in a subtle way to the final Aroma and Flavour Profile. It's certainly not cheap for a NAS whisky but if I were on Islay right now I would buy a bottle of the Toiteach!

Jan van den Ende                                                         May 28, 2015

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