Monday, September 6, 2021

Bunnahabhain Toiteach a Dha Islay Single Malt Scotch

- $65
- 92.6
- Islay

As it is, I can barely pronounce "Bunnahabhain," and I'm sure I'm still pronouncing it wrong. I certainly still don't know how to pronounce "Toiteach a Dha." But, this particular bottle came highly recommended by my local liquor store guy when he learned of my interest in fruity peat -- peated Scotches finished in wine barrels. 

This particular bottling was finished in Sherry casks, and this is supposed to have greater sherry influence than normal Bunnahabhain (perhaps I should have started there, but oh well).  Either way, it's yet another example of a smoky Islay Scotch finished in fortified wine casks, and I couldn't wait to try another example of peat meets sweet with this Sherry finish.

The nose was, of course, smoky, giving off a bit of barbecue and char. I really didn't get as much of the Sherry that I had hoped to. Rather, what I noticed was something earthy and funky, like the smell of camping in the rain. Later on I did get a nice cherry note, like a fresh cherry off the tree. Perhaps that was the Sherry that I was missing before.

As to flavor, the peat notes certainly hit right up front, but that was immediately balanced out by the Sherry, with bright notes of raspberry and cherry mingling with the peat smoke. This is what I was looking for! 

The raspberry had a bit of a jammy quality to it. It was sweet and rich like a raspberry donut filling. That raspberry also provided a light tartness, and on later pours I was getting a sweetened cranberry note. While it definitely was sweeter, it also had a char note that was a bit like burnt sugar. The peat smoke did provide a bit of that band-aid note that can turn people off, but here it wasn't strong nor off-putting.

The finish let that sweet, fruity smoke linger for a decent while, and it's on the finish that a certain salinity came through. In a way that finish had me yearning for the next sip.  This was in many ways what I love about wine finished, peated Scotches. The only criticisms I had were very minor, and I'd certainly go back to this one in a heartbeat.

Grade: B+

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