Located on the north eastern coast of Islay, just north of Caol Ila distillery, Bunnahabhain is not widely known for it's peated expressions (the standard bottlings are unpeated) but it should be, in my opinion.
Bunnahabhain Toiteach, No Age Statement, 46%, Islay.
Un-chill-filtered, no added colourings. The label states "what if a touch of smoke was added in the distillation process", but I'll tell you now there is more than a touch there! 'Toiteach' is Scots Gaelic for 'smoky', after all. Apparently finished in Manzanilla sherry (dry, slightly salty) casks, but this is not stated on the bottle or the distillery's website.
Colour: Light golden (not an indicator of anything, other than they obviously have not added colour!)
Texture: Oily despite being down from cask strength, excellent legs. Suggests excellent quality casks and spirit, and possibly good ageing, despite there being no age statement.
Nose: Slight smoke, some pale straw / dry grass, sweet lemon rind, white wine & green apple once opened up. No heat on the nose, good quality stuff.
Palate: The star of the show in this whisky. Lots of beautiful, delicious, deep smoke. Some subtle dry sherry notes, but not sweet and well-balanced by the smoke and dry-ish peat. Also some over-cooked caramel (not overly sweet, but not bitter either), and the straw and crisp green apple from the nose. Amazingly smooth at an assumed young age, there is no burn whatsoever, even neat and at room temperature. The delicious deep smoke brings the taste buds to life, plenty of it too, and it's utterly delicious!
Finish: Long, smoky but clean, a hint of ash, and a slight rubbery/soapy note on the end, but not in a bad way. Some more straw and crisp green apple right at the end, plus a final puff of that gorgeous smoke.
Comments: Awesome stuff, and did I mention the smoke? Not over-powering but well-balanced, and the whisky is so smooth and light on the tongue. Amazing depth of flavour and not overwhelming. In fact at cask strength it might have lost some of that flavour and balance. Also works well with some quality milk chocolate, believe it or not.
Score: 4 out of 5.
Very impressed with this one, it easily holds it's weight compared to Ardbeg & Laphroaig 10 year old, but is a different breed, lighter and less medicinal than laphroaig, less sweet than Ardbeg, but more (yes, more!) smoky. One of my go-to peated whiskies, not commonly seen on the shelves but worth the hunting! This is where I found it , at SM Whisky Australia, and at a decent price too.
I would love to try Bunna's Cruach Mhona ('peat stack' in gaelic) as well, see here for that one , it's on my wish list! Slainte!