Tag: Bruichladdich

8Jun

Bruichladdich The Organic & The Macallan Fine Oak 10

Bruichladdich The Organic
This whisky comes with blurb:

In Victorian times when Bruichladdich distillery was built, all Scottish barley was organically grown, and the relationship of farmer with his soil and the seasons, and distiller with farmer were intimate and enduring. These natural rhythms and ties were lost as industrialised farming cut the ancient synergy of man, soil, crop, life. An age of super-efficient blandness was born; The cost – a loss of soul, identity and definition.

With this whisky, in partnership with our organic farmers, Sir William Roberts of Mains of Tullibardine, William Rose at Mid Coul and Neil Scobie at Coulmore, we are reconnecting, rediscovering that soul. Once again land and dram united.

Apparently the organic barley is genuinely interesting here – it functions differently during farming all the way through to distillation, all of which helps create a different taste to the usual barely.

The colour is a light gold or straw, a very delicate looking dram. On the nose: intense malt, cream cheese, touch of peat. In the mouth: very smooth, weighty, creamy, mouth-watering (I don’t know what causes it, but it seems a trend in nearly all the Bruichladdichs I’ve tasted so far) and there again is that intense burst of malted barley that’s so mixed with the delicate peating it’s hard to separate the two. There’s something enormously precise about this whisky.

Bruichladdich The Organic has recently been awarded “exceptional” status by Michelin and Gault Millau tasters who made up a panel of from the European food and drink industry. “No other spirit has been rated as high over the last four years,” they said. They’re probably on to something, too. You can pick a bottle of this up for a reasonable £35.

The Macallan Fine Oak 10 Years Old.

Macallan is the third largest selling single malt in the world, apparently, and is located in the other famous whisky region of Speyside. The Fine Oak Range is triple cask matured in various oak casks (I’m not quite sure why the stress on the oak part, since all single malt whisky matures in oak barrels) but it lends it a classic flavour profile and isn’t as sickly sweet as the Macallan 10 I’ve tried previously.

Colour: gold. On the nose: heavy notes of fruit and vanilla, a touch woody underneath that. In the mouth: delicate, great maltiness coming through, another touch of vanilla but nothing too strong here. Not too weighty, and with a dry, lightly spiced finish. One that should be very approachable to newcomers as well as satisfy those looking for a classic single malt flavour.

You can pick a bottle of this up with publication of your third novel by Tor UK. Cheers, guys!

31May

Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvée Château Margaux 16 Year Old

Another experimental release from the Progressive Hebridean Distillers on Islay.

The Bruichladdich “First Growth” series takes 16 year old Bruichladdich single malt whisky and finishes them off in casks gleaned from some of the finest vineyards in the world so that they may lend their flavour to the whisky – in this case, the casks came from Château Margaux.

Colour: near syrup, but not quite – just a touch lighter and redder. On the nose: a mixture of all sorts of light things here. There’s the coastal tang mixed with a sherry sweetness and more floral notes, maybe some toffee and honey. A distinct creaminess.

In the mouth: Blimey, this might be the smoothest, silkiest whisky I’ve ever tasted. It’s magnificent, just so so delicate and yet at the same time bold. Fruits there, cherries, a sort of plum jam. What an incredible sweet, mildly spiced, and balanced dram, with an amazing weight in the mouth. It possesses and incredibly mouth-watering texture. Quite unlike any whisky I’ve ever tasted, and the finish goes on and on. Wonderful.

A bottle of this will set you back around £50, and is probably well worth it for the texture alone.

23May

Bruichladdich Laddie Classic & Pedro Ximénez

Two more samples from what is quickly becoming one of my favourite distilleries.

Bruichladdich Laddie Classic

Colour: Amber, cider vinegar. On the nose: gentle peat, a distant sweetness, a touch briny. Classic Islay traits, though nothing unusual.

In the mouth: Smooth, ever so smooth. Great weight and feel in the mouth. Heavy maltiness. Spot of white wine on the finish. That distant sweetness is still there. Perhaps a little disappointing compared to the complexity of the others I’ve tasted from Bruichladdich, but it’s definitely a solid dram and probably a great one for newcomers to single malt whisky. Expect to pick a bottle up for around £35.

 

Bruichladdich Sherry Edition 1992 Age 17 Years “Pedro Ximénez”

Colour: a dark honey, almost treacle. On the nose: a blast of sherry and dried fruits. In the mouth: a wall of sweet fruits, and of course sherry. Really crisp, really clean, very thin and light in the mouth. A little chewy. A touch of wood on the finish, perhaps some spices. Surprising to think such a Macallan/Glenfarclas-esque flavour can come from Islay, and it’s still a fine single malt.

This isn’t on sale anymore, to my knowledge, but you would have been looking at £55-ish at the time.

17May

Bruichladdich Octomore 01.1

It was said at the time of release that the Bruichladdich Octomore 1.1 was the world’s peatiest whisky. The guys at Bruichladdich, one of the most experimental distilleries, have since surpassed that with later Octomore releases that have phenol levels of 140ppm. For context: the one I’m drinking is at 80ppm, an Ardbeg is about 54-56ppm and Laphroaig is about 35ppm.

Colour: light gold to straw, something deceptively mellow. On the nose: well, smoke, of course. Buttery, creaminess underneath. Sweet, charred fire. Bacon. Something earthy. A touch of lemon. Nothing that tells you it’s about to blow your head off.

In the mouth: Shit, but this has got some heat to it. It’s as if you’ve dipped your glass into a crofter’s fire and brought it to your mouth to drink the flames. The strength of this – an eye-watering 63.5% – combined with the amount of peat is beyond intense. This really is something else. Then, when you’re brave enough for a second attempt, there’s the faint promise of something syrupy mixed with overwhelming spice and afterwards you’re left with a warming, chewy maltiness.

This is, perhaps, one to drink on the coldest or stormiest night of the year. The Bruichladdich Octomore should come with a health and safety warning (but ignore that and drink it anyway).

4May

Bruichladdich Infinity 3

A word in your ear: look at the bottle. Look at it. Isn’t that design beautiful? Isn’t it so contemporary, bold yet elegant? It is made by Bruichladdich, who consider themselves to be Progressive Hebridean Distillers. Quite right, too: I’ve been following their blog for a while, and it’s refreshing, it’s progressive. They take no prisoners. They say things you think companies ought not to say. They turn whisky into biogas. They are their own people, and I respect their outlook very much. It would have been a shame if the first whisky of theirs I tried did not have the chops to back up that sentiment, but, oh my, it did…

At first, what a colour – a sort of ruby-esque, sunset Pimms; like no other whisky I’ve seen yet (that’ll be those Tempranillo casks?). On the nose: gentle smoke fires, treacle, sultanas, touch of Christmas cake, maybe even vanilla, just a touch of red wine, then on the back end something more savoury, perhaps a pastry, or a cheese. It’s a distinctive, pervasive aroma. Some whiskies you need to stick your nose in the glass; some you put the glass on the side and let the smell come to you. This is very much the latter.

On the mouth, it’s really beautiful, not too oily, not too dry, just a kind of pleasant, balanced middle ground. This is strong, 50% stuff, yet it’s not harshly overpowering. It’s blissful. Wonderful sweet malts, what an unusual experience and with a tangy, peppery aftertaste. There are all sorts of things going on here, and none of them dominate the palette. Surprised that the smoke wasn’t there as much as I thought it’d be, but the rest of the flavours more than make up for it – or perhaps that should be that the flavours balance it. All in all, it reminds me of the Glenfarclas 15, somehow, but there is more of that rugged, Islay spirit here.

If I were to have a solid, dependable bottle to pour for visitors and say to them Stop what you’re doing, relax and take this seriously, then I have found such a bottle. It’s very reasonably priced at around £45, too.

For any newcomers wondering why a writer is reviewing whisky, see here. It’s all necessary.