Review: Te Bheag Nan Eilean Gaelic Blended Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Te Bheag 2.jpg
Scottish Malt and Grain Whiskies
Distiller Multiple (Scotland)

This is a blend marketed towards connoisseurs, presented very nicely and non-chillfiltered – which means that many of the natural oils from the whisky aren’t stripped out providing a bit better body to the whisky. It is pronounced “Chey-Vek”, which, in gaelic, means “a wee dram”. It, according to the back label, contains a high percentage (40%) of single malt in the blend (blended scotch is composed of both single malts and other grain whiskies) and was originally produced for the Hebridean Islands (a group which includes Islay, Skye, and Jura).

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: Apple, with a slight smoky and peaty background note which has a bit of floral heather in it and some lovely light vanilla which is nicely integrated. There’s a bit of a ginger note, too, a decent amount of maltiness, and lots of nuttiness. In a big glass it’s a bit out of sync – there’s a bit of bitterness and the peat doesn’t really fit into the whole whisky very well. The detracting bitterness is a bit annoying, unfortunately – but it is better in a smaller glass like a glencairn than a wide mouthed glass. It does seem to take its time to develop, with some creaminess coming through with some time and even some green-pepper like vegetal notes.

Taste: Soft, with a very nice mouthfeel, a decent amount of sweetness, and a slightly earthy, slightly smoky, peaty backbone. There is a reasonable maltiness to it as well, which balances out the peat fairly nicely. Some smoke and spices take off a bit towards the end. The texture of the whisky is great, and the balance is quite nice as well. It’s medium bodied – but constructed in such a way that it is really easy to almost drink it rather than sip it – which is nice. There’s also a very nice, light, heathery note to this which is very pleasant too. The sweetness, if I sip slowly, is at a bit higher level than I would like – and sometimes it feels a bit too light for the sweetness level – but if I sip a bit faster I find it fine.

Finish: Light smoke, apple, some nuttiness, raisins, and some lightly sweet malt. It is still nicely balanced, but not overly-complex. As often with finishes, as you drink more it develops a bit and some more spice, jasmine tea, and light vanilla come through.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High based on $40 (on the lower end of the category - but that is still great value!).

Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L 18 10 19 3 05:33 88

  • Bottling Date: 2018

A soft, lightly smoky nose – stewed fruits, sweet and round grain, vanilla, oats, raisins, prunes, and a sharp spice. Lots of dried fruit. The palate is grainy, slightly spicy, and slightly spicy – balanced with vanilla and custard. The finish is slightly sweet, grainy, and ever-so-slightly smoky. Vanilla, honey, dried fruit on the finish. Nicely put together. The smoky edge to this one is really nice, and there are nice wafts of tropical fruit – some nice things to be discovered!

Recommended (82% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High. Pretty good Scotch for the price.