Staoisha is a name that is still quite rare, but judging by the number of casks that are currently being offered by whisky brokers to bottlers, it will become widely known soon enough.
In fact Staoisha refers to one of the water sources of Bunnahabhain distillery and it is used for their heavily peated production (sometimes named Margadale after the other water source). Kind of what Port Charlotte and Octomore are to Bruichladdich.
Most Staoisha bottlings that we see today were distilled in 2013 or 2014, still very young but often full of promise. This one is just 4 years old and bottled by Signatory Vintage for the 20th Anniversary of The Whisky Exchange.
Staoisha 4 yo 2014 (60,3%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange 20th Anniversary 2019, dechar / rechar hogshead #10590, 290 btl.)
Nose: very peaty and rather medicinal. You get burnt heather and charcoal, and sweet peat with vanilla and baked apple. Lots of peppery notes. Also peaches. Salted nuts and smoky bacon. Then some iodine and antiseptics, coming close to the Laphroaig Cask Strength. Water brings out a nice berry sweetness.
Mouth: quite hot, with all flavours dialled up to 11. Pepper, roasted nuts, dark smoke and hints of herbal syrup. Camphor and liquorice. Zesty lemons. Same intense coastal side. Water brings out the (pear) fruitiness.
Finish: very long, tarry and salty with echoes of vanilla and menthol.
A young rebel, rather monolithic when taken neat, but a very intense peat bomb that will surely appeal to Islay lovers. Don’t underestimate Staoisha even at this age. Available from The Whisky Exchange.