Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bunnahabhain Toiteach: Great Scotch with foggy origin story

I'm drinking up my liquor cabinet as fast as I can since learning the horrifying fact that liquor will not last indefinitely in an open bottle. So I came upon this bottle of Bunnahabhain Toiteach Scotch whisky, which I received as a sample last year and never got around to writing about.

Why? Here's the entire conversation I had about it with the importer:
Me: "You sent me a sample of the Toiteach and I like it. What more can you tell me about it?"
Importer: "Retails for $79.99. Here is all our information."
Not so much, right? I'll save you from clicking on the sell sheet. The distillery was founded in 1881. Although Bunnahabhain is in Islay, most of its Scotches are not peaty; in fact that's what the distillery is most famous for among aficionados. But this one is. "Toiteach" is pronounced "toe-check" -- sounds like a Scotch for hockey fans -- and means "smokey" in Gaelic. It's un-chill-filtered, 12-years old, bottled at 46% alcohol, with no added color.

It's also delicious; it was one of those bottles that I drank really quickly until deciding I would save the last swallow for a special occasion. When I learned it wouldn't last forever, I decided Sunday night was a special occasion.

For me this has the perfect blend of Islay flavors: smokiness, sure, but not to the exclusion of milk chocolate notes and some orange peel, with fine freshness that makes the glass, and the bottle, empty faster than expected.

Some of my open bottles of Scotch are going to be shaken up with sweet Vermouth to make Rob Roys -- gotta clear out that liquor cabinet -- but this one I had in a whisky glass with two lumps of ice. Don't gasp, that's how they drink it in Scotland.

Order it here, for less than list price.

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