Bunnahaiban Toiteach

Islay Single Malt, No Age Statement,
46% ABV, $79

Pronounced “Toch Chach”, here’s what the distiller says about the name:

Toiteach means smoky in Scots Gaelic, reflecting the seeming contradiction that this peaty paradox represents.

This is a great smelling whisky that I’ve been looking forward to tasting for a while. The smell is of sweet grass, butterscotch, malt, tobacco, smoke, candied ginger, pear, honey, dark cherry and lemon. It’s really great on the nose!

The taste is sweetly smokey, but less so than Ardbeg Ten (my reference Islay Malt to date). It’s starts out tangy, sweet and malty with notes of lemon, lots of ginger, butterscotch, toffee and straw. The pepper arrives quickly and lasts through to the finish of light wood, slight leather, mild smoke and a continuance of the toffee. A little water tones down the tartness, but not the spices. The wood becomes a bit more prominent and the smoke becomes subtle. Midway through, there’s a more pronounced arrival of toffee and vanilla with the addition of apricot and honey. I also notice a slight iodine finish that I didn’t notice before.

This is a really good whisky. There are aspects that I prefer over Ardbeg Ten (aroma, spice, fruits) and others that don’t compare as well (not enough smoke and too much wood, not to mention the iodine, which I’m not a fan of). Still, its one that I’m likely to buy and spend more time with (thanks for the sample, Mark) as there’s enough here to keep me interested and hoping for more… even at $80.

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