Review: Bunnahabhain Toiteach

History

Bunnahabhain Distillery 2See this post for more background about Bunnahabhain distillery. Often overshadowed by it’s more popular neighbors, Bunnahabhain is one of eight distilleries on Islay. Located on the Northern part of Islay, Bunnahabhain produces the lightest of all the Islay single malt whiskies with lightly peated barley. Founded in 1881, Bunnahabhain is currently owned by Burn Stewart Distillers. They produced 2.5 million liters per year and are known for their core range – 12 year, 18 year and 25 year. A departure from their house style, the Toiteach (meaning smoky in Scots Gaelic) expression is a no age statement whisky made in a heavily peated style. It’s said to be an average of ten to eleven years of age though it surely contains some youthful whisky and a touch of older whisky as well. As with all of their expressions it is non-chill filtered and bottled at 46% ABV.

Tasting Notes

bunnahabhain toiteachNose: seaweed, vanilla, peat, oak spice, smoky, fruity sweetness

Mouth: rich, some smoke, caramel, some fruity sweetness, hot, dates

Finish: smoky, peat, charcoal, prosciutto

Score: 86/100

Verdict: This is a very balanced and delicious whisky. It has more in common with Kilchoman’s house style than Bunnahabhain’s core range in that it melds fruit, spices and peat. On the nose there’s seaweed, vanilla, peat smoke, oak spice and bit of fruity sweetness. The fruity sweetness offsets the smokiness quite nicely and it’s influence continues into the palate. There’s evidence of dates, hot spices, rich caramel and smoke on the mouth. This whisky wants to be rich very badly, but it comes across a little light due to it’s youthfulness. I would be interested to see what this tastes like as a true 15 or 16 year old. The finish is dominated by charcoal and proscuitto notes. Overall Toiteach is a very delicious whisky which has a good amount of sweetness to complement the smokiness. I’m a fan – this is something I would sip daily.

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