Te Bheag (Apparently pronounced: "chey vek") is a blended "gaelic whisky" - as the label asserts - which is very much a west coast highland blend. There is no age statement, but the label clearly states that this blended whisky has been thankfully not chill-filtered and is refreshingly straight forward. No mention of caramel though, so more research would be needed to determine this.
The Gaelic Whisky Company (www.gaelicwhisky.com) is the most old fashioned and fiercely independent of independent distilleries in that it is quite difficult to find its blends and maintains a rather unique character between all their bottles. Gaelic Whisky Co. does not own their own distillery, although they are said to be in construction of one around Skye, so this is a blend of a vast variety of different single malts that are not tied to one company.
For some particularly strange reason, this whisky sells the most in France and Canada (what?!) and I found it at my local LCBO for a bargain-bin price of 36$ CAD. That's in the same price range as Red Label, but many kilometres past it in quality.
Colour: Light amber, un-chillfiltered.
Nose: Light peat, very coastal and seaside, sherry, sweet, burnt coffee (?), the peat is gentle-natured unlike the usual Islay. Very highland.
Taste: Gentle peat, the grain taste is there but not as if it's hiding something bad or compensating, sea salts and brine, incredibly faint sherry, quite spicy, coffee. I began to notice the speyside-y honey and toffee after the glass was left to open up as I wrote the rest of this review.
Finish: Spicy and hot, very rye-like but lasts longer than a rye. The heat really is hard to ignore and almost numbs the mouth. (Is this a medical emergency?)
It is very much advised to let this dram sit with the tiniest pinch of water and the honey starts to come out.
To finish, this blended whisky is missing the usual punch of the grain whiskies that the large blended brands include and it is a refreshing change. I usually find that the grain whiskies are there to either cover up holes in the single malts or just pad the profit margins of the big blenders.
It's clear that Te Bheag is a blended whisky, but it feels like something more - and I think a lot of us "snobs" would certainly appreciate more creative bottles such as the ones Gaelic Whisky Co. puts out. I also appreciated the nice touch of printing when it was bottled right on the glass, that is certainly useful to know.