Bunnahabhain Toiteach Single Malt Scotch Whisky Is Released In the US

The first heavily peated distillery bottling of Bunnahabhain to be introduced in the United States

Toiteach is Gaelic for ‘Smoky’
Bunnahabhain was founded in 1881. It was therefore still a new venture when visited by the author Alfred Barnard when he was researching his definitive book on distilleries in 1886. One of Alfred’s many observations of this young distillery was that, “Nothing but peat is used in the kilns, which is dug in the district and is of exceptionally fine quality.” This, however, is a stark contrast to the gentle Bunnahabhain of today.

Now, over a century and a quarter later, Toiteach (pronounced ‘toe-chack’) has been created in honor of Bunnahabhain’s origins, that long-lost style of peated Bunnahabhain single malt scotch whisky. In keeping with its heritage, Toiteach uses the same pure, natural spring water source, the Margadale spring, that has run clear for over a 100 years, and Bunnahabhain is the only distillery on Islay to do so. Toiteach is considered by whisky experts to be amongst the finest peated Islay Malts ever created, and is one of the most highly anticipated whisky releases by connoisseurs and collectors in theUnited States. It is a very small production, with limited availability, but as with all Bunnahabhain Single Malt Whisky, Toiteach is un-chill filtered, and contains no added coloring, purely the way whisky should be.

Tasting Notes:

The nose has a charming subtle peatiness with prickling strength emanating from the dram.

The taste has immediate warming flavours drifting towards a slightly sweet sherry influence with delicate peppery notes.

The finish has a good robust length with an extremely pleasant aftertaste – beautifully peated Bunnahabhain single malt for the discerning palate.

Remy Cointreau to Buy Bruichladdich

Should Remy Cointreau snare Bruichladdich in the coming weeks, as seems likely, the purists in the Scotch whisky category will, as is their wont, be up in arms over the sale. Nothing fires the imagination, after all, than the re-emergence of a lost distillery with enthusiasts holding the reins.

And, if you want those fires rekindled, have a read of this marvellous piece on Bruichladdich by Andrew Jefford back in 2001.

Jefford details the purchase of the distillery in Islay, just down the road from sleepy Port Charlotte and overlooking the “dolphin-lively waters of the great sea bay called Loch Indaal”, in late-2000 by Murray McDavid, a malt bottling business set up by two London wine merchants and a member of the family that owned whisky distiller Springbank. The group, led by Mark Reynier, secured funding to buy the facility – and its stocks – for GBP6.5m (US$10.1m) at the turn of the century.

Much has since been made of the new owner’s approach to the multi-national drinks giants also operating in Scotch whisky. Reynier, who still heads up Bruichladdich, has ploughed an aggressive furrow, targeting the likes of Diageo, the Scotch Whisky Association… you name it, really.

This “stridently independent stance”, as one analyst put it this morning, might have polarised opinions within Scotch of the man, but what most agree on is that Bruichladdich has developed and maintained a unique place in the Scotch industry, and on Islay. The company has been at the fore-front of innovation: It claims to produce the world’s most heavily peated Scotch, Octomore, and, in 2010, tried its hand at a gin, The Botanist, which, despite its original limited release, is still available today.

So, the purists may be aghast at today’s news. But, ask yourself this: if somebody came to you to buy what you have found to be “a rollercoaster, not just a financial rollercoaster; it’s been an emotional rollercoaster” since you bought it for US$10.1m 12 years ago, and offered you around US$52.8m, what would you do?

Dalmore Cigar Malt

A more complex dram then I was expecting, Rich toffee
desert style dram – Nice & pleasant to drink

Earthy full of Nuts & Honey

Light, was expecting a more robust feel

Lingering tones of dried fruit & Marmalade

Rating 89

Century-Old Whiskey Bottles Found in Missouri Man’s Attic

To save money on the installation of central air-conditioning in his St. Joseph, Mo., home, Bryan Fite began replacing the wires in his attic, prying up the floor boards on the rafters. Along with possible savings, he found a treasure beneath the floorboards: 13 bottles of century-old whiskey.

Fite, 40, grew up in St. Joseph, and after working in Kansas City for several years, he returned to settle in his hometown in September 2011. The house he and his wife Emily Fite chose was built in the 1850s and needed work, Fite said.

The cost of installing central A/C and heat was prohibitive, he said, so he got to work in his attic. What first appeared to Fite as a set of strangely shaped insulated pipes turned out to be the secret whiskey stash of one of the house’s former owners — or so goes Fite’s main theory of how the liquor ended up there.

When they purchased the house, the Fites received a paper abstract detailing the history of its ownership. One of the owners, Fite said, had to give up the house when he was consigned to a sanitarium “for alcohol reasons.” Fite hypothesizes that this alcoholic hid the bottles in the attic for some future occasion.

“Unfortunately, he never got the chance,” Fite said.

Very Aged Whiskey Found Under Attic Floorboards

All the whiskey in Fite’s attic was bottled in 1917 and distilled between 1912 and 1913. Fite, a self-proclaimed history buff, said the four bottles of Hellman’s Celebrated Old Crow whiskey he found may have been among the last of their kind. In 1918, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Edson Bradley, the maker of the still-popular Old Crow whiskey bottled by the makers of Jim Beam, allowing him exclusive rights to the “Old Crow” label.

In addition to the Old Crow bottles, Fite’s attic was keeping cool a few bottles of Guckenheimer, the erstwhile Pennsylvania rye whiskey, and W. H. McBrayer’s Cedar Brook whiskey.

In 2017, when the bottles turn 100, Fite and his friends will pop them open, he said. But for now, they are simply antiques.

“Part of the allure for me is having them in their original state,” said Fite, who identified bourbon as his drink of choice. “I have high expectations of what they’ll taste like, and I’m afraid if I open them I’ll be disappointed.”

The quality of Fite’s findings depend largely on the liquid level of the whiskey in the bottles, said Lew Bryson, managing editor of WhiskyAdvocate.com. If enough whiskey has evaporated, oxygen will enter the bottle and begin rusting the whiskey, and its “off flavors” will be concentrated in what remains, according to Bryson.

“Unfortunately, the good stuff leaves first,” he said.

But unlike wine, in which yeast continues fermenting in the bottle, whiskey’s alcohol content is too high to support any organisms. As long as the cap or cork is secure enough not to let in much oxygen, the age of the bottle will not affect the quality or taste of its contents.

Bryson said Fite could likely sell the bottles for several hundred dollars apiece. Pre-prohibition whiskeys are of historical interest, he said, adding that as a Pennsylvania rye enthusiast, he would be interested in buying one of Fite’s Guckenheimers.

The value of antique whiskey is influenced by factors such as rarity and the reputation of the brand, he said, but it is not easy to predict, he said. An extremely rare single-malt whiskey from the 1930s recently sold for $100,000.

“You don’t know until you try to sell it,” he said.


July 2012 – Guinness World Records™ has awarded The Macallan the accolade of ‘most expensive whisky sold at auction’. Now the definitive world record holder, The Macallan’s 64 Years Old in Lalique, Cire Perdue sold at auction for $460,000, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting charity: water, an organization that provides access to clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations.

Coveted by bidders, the one-of-a kind Lalique crystal decanter housed the oldest and rarest Macallan ever bottled by the distillery, a 64 Years Old Single Malt whisky. The historic auction which took place at Sotheby’s in New York in November 2010 was the culmination of a 12-city “tour du monde” of the decanter.

David Cox, Director of Fine and Rare Whiskies for The Macallan commented, “We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded the Guinness World Record™ for the most expensive whisky sold at auction. This major accolade from such a world-renowned and respected organization proves once and for all that The Macallan is the world record holder.”

He continued, “We had a phenomenal response around the world to this very special and rare decanter and I feel it is a fitting tribute to the inspiring project which managed to raise a staggering $600,000 overall for charity: water.”

Silvio Denz, President and CEO of Lalique, commented, “We are enormously proud of this world record we share with our friends at The Macallan, with whom we have successfully collaborated since 2004. Over the years our crystal decanters, which are entirely handcrafted by our glassmakers, have proved hugely admired and sought after by whisky consumers and connoisseurs, as well as collectors of Lalique crystal and lovers of beautiful ‘objets d’art’. This latest achievement, which was realized through the lost-wax moulding technique, is testament to the exceptional quality, artistry and longstanding tradition that is shared by both Lalique and The Macallan.”

The Macallan and Lalique global fundraising tour raised more than $600,000 for charity: water to provide clean water to over 30,000 people (www.charitywater.org/themacallan).