Bruichladdich

 

Distillery photo by Fumaro Via Wikimedia Commons

 

Bruichladdich distillery is situated on the shores of Lochindaal on the Isle of Islay. It was founded by the Harvey family in 1881 and remained in their posession until 1929 when it was mothballed. It was sold in 1938 but then suffered many new owners and re-sales until 1960 when it was purchased by AB Grant. Invergordon took it over in 1968 and expanded the distillery before selling to it Whyte & Mackay who then mothballed it once again in 1995.

 
 

In 2000 a consortium named Bruichladdich Distillery Company Ltd led by Mark Reynier and Jim McEwan (formerly master distiller at Bowmore) purchased and reopened the distillery with production starting in 2001.

They managed to build great momentum by bottling the old stock which they bought along with the distillery and experimented widely with finishing or "ACEing" in various sherry and wine casks.

In July 2012 Remy Cointreau signed an agreement to buy Bruichladdich for a record 58m GBP. The sale was finalised on 3rd September 2012.

 

 
 

More great distillery info here thanks to Malt Madness

 

Photo by Canthusus Via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

  General whisky characteristics

exotic fruit, primarily passion fruit, although they have developed ranges of peated and very heavily peated whisky in their Port Charlotte & Octomore brands.

 

 

 

The Younger & No Age Statement Range(s)

 

Characteristics: Generally peppery, raw, a little fiery.

 
   

Bruichladdich, 'Waves', 7y, 46% ABV

Original presentation

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Nose: Oats and traces of a sweet malty drink (Milky version).

Palate: This is usually quite spicy, but this bottle has been opened for about 6 weeks and is now much more mellow, with considerably less 'tingle' on the tongue. It still exhibits Bruichladdich's typical passion fruit, but it does taste quite old.

Author's Note: I normally love this whisky. It is a young Bruichladdich, but has a character all of its own with lively, spicy fruit. Unfortunately I have seen that some of these deteriorate quite quickly after opening. They can develop a dirty brown looking sediment and once this happens, they taste old, musty and sour. Out of a total of 12-15 bottles I have seen this happen to 4-5 of them. The deterioration tends to happen after anything from 2-5 weeks from opening.

My top tip: Drink them quickly and you'll be OK!

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 'Rocks', 46% ABV

Original presentation

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Coppery red

Nose: Fiery fruit and a hint of what I call 'Bruichladdich blige pump' which means sea water mixed in with engine room.

Palate: Very lively and spicy on the palate with a mixture of fruit, barley and even a hint of liquorice towards the finish.

Finish: Spicy and long with just a hint of liquorice.

Overall Impression: Like other younger Bruichladdich I've tried this is very lively, or spicy, on the palate with what I can only personally describe as a slightly raw feel, in so far as it is much less smooth than it's older siblings.

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 'Rocks', 46% ABV

New presentation

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow with a very slight touch of copper

Nose: Malt, ice cream wafer (or cornet) but not the ice cream itself and a touch of fruity white wine.

Palate: Initially creamy and smooth, extremely light butterscotch and gentle fruit.

Finish: Medium to long with light toffee or is it butterscotch again?

Overall Impression: This new edition is a totally different whisky to the previous one. Whereas the previous one immediately makes its presence known with an all out assault right at the front of the palate, this one has much more subtlety and gently coaxes the middle and sides of the palate with a much less fierce approach. This is a much more easy-drinking whisky which I prefer to the older version.

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, Celtic Nations, NAS, 46% ABV

A mix of Bruichladdich & Cooley's Irish whiskey

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light copper

Nose: Faint but typical Bruichladdich 'bilge pump' aroma with just a hint of aniseed.

Palate: Initially smooth with plenty of passion-fruit in evidence alongside spicy banana and fresh bread dough, or was it pizza base dough?

Finish: Medium with fruit

Overall Impression / Author's Note: This is a very strange, as in unusual, whisky which really does show its roots from both Scotland and Ireland. In one of my tastings a few years ago I heard this described as having a Scottish nose and an Irish mouth, which is not far from reality. Unfortunately, at that time it was not a well-liked whisky for exactly this reason. This particular bottle was in the back of a cupboard and I decided to open it a few months ago and found once again that it was not much different; slightly sour and very disjointed. But alas, what a difference a few months make; it was returned to the cupboard and forgotten about for 6-7 months before I revisited it this last week. Suddenly it is much smoother, more rounded and even balanced. I normally dislike the effects of oxidisation, but in this case it seems to worked some real magic and turned a disjointed half-breed into something quite palatable. My recommendation? Open it, try a dram or two, then put it away for 6-8 months and try it again.

 

     

 

 

Vintages and Ages

 

Characteristics: Smooth, fruity, some finishes and maritime.

 
 

 

 

Bruichladdich, 15y, 46% ABV

Second edition

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Warm copper

Nose: Initially very fresh, almost minty. After a few minutes the mint recedes and the nose opens into a very pleasant one of hay, straw and young fruity red wine.

Palate: Smooth, oily cream spreads across the palate with hints of violet and basil, but these quickly fade, leaving a long, slightly bitter aftertaste of red wine and faint hints of blood orange.

Finish: Long

Overall Impression: Much better than my notes may suggest, I like this one!

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 'Islands', 20y, 46% ABV

Third edition

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Nose: Typical Bruichladdich passion fruit alongside a perfumed bouquet of Spring flowers, with a hint of a rural smoking chimney in Winter.

Palate: I have some difficulty in exactly identifying the individual flavours here. It's good, very good, like a smooth concentrated version of the 14y offerings (Links & WMD). The aftertaste begins as toffee, then turns into a smoky cross between Parma and Serrano ham.

Overall Impression: I do like this 20y bottling, very easy to drink.

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 2003, 5y, 46% ABV

Organic

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale yellow, not far removed from water in colour.

Nose: Fresh malt, oat biscuit, lightly floral with the slightest hint of crispy bacon.

Palate: Light, floral, very slightly spirity and leaning toward 'maritime' in character.

Finish: Quite long, in fact growing in stature over 1 minute or so, slight liquorice and malt.

Overall Impression: This is releaased as Islay's first organic whisky so if I was expecting farmyard, manure and other 'organic traits' that readily come to mind thanks to recently opening my compost tip and distributing the 'healthy' stuff around the garden, I was, very thankfully, disappointed. This is only 5 years old but really quite light and floral with just a hint of spirit and liquorice. I sincerely hope they have a few casks of this maturing further on the 'laddie Estate as I'd love to try it again soon and also in a few years time!

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 16y, 46% ABV

One of a series of 6 First Growth; "E" Chateau Y'Quem Sauternes

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Bright 18 carat gold

Nose: Nice. Wood, slight hint of rubber, faint redcurrant, wine and just the slightest hint of aniseed.

Palate: Smooth but with a slight peppery tingle in the middle and front of the palate. Redcurrant, blackberry and creamy toffee.

Finish: Long, smooth and fruity.

Overall Impression: Wonderful, one of the best Bruichladdies I have tried and it seems at the perfect age. I want more!

 

     
 

Bruichladdich, 21y, 26.1.1990-13.6.2011, 48.2% ABV

Cask No.173, bourbon matured, Chateau D'Yquem finish

Cask Evolution & Exploration, bottle No.90, for Malts & More

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark amber

Nose: Rich wood with fruit undertones. After 2-3 minutes the faintest hint of nuts with a (wood) smokiness and musty or dusty character develops.

Palate: Rich and creamy with more fruitiness than wood, but this is quite a mixed selection of fruits with berries, apricots and peach to the fore which remains rich throughout. The richness continues and eventually offers a suggestion of coffee or chocolate mousse towards the finish.

Finish: Long and creamy.

Overall Impression: An excellent whisky with a big fruity punch.

 

   
 

 

Bruichladdich, The Laddie Ten, 10y, 46% ABV

The first 10y completely distilled, matured & bottled by the new owners

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich golden yellow

Nose: This has an almost citrus freshness over a malty earthiness and, as the minutes pass the earthiness gains a quite maritime character with a slight saltiness and hints of beach-dried driftwood.

Palate: That malty freshness translates immediately to the palate with a hint of citrus (lime) tantalising the very back of the tongue.

Finish: Long with oaky lime.

Overall Impression: Bruichladdich have managed to get this one very right indeed. It's a very good, very honest and untainted by funny wine casks kind of whisky. I love it!

 

   

 

 

Sherry Editions

 

Characteristics: Smooth, passion fruit, dark fruits, some wood

 
   

Bruichladdich, 'Infinity', Edition #1, 55.5% ABV

Brief Tasting Note: Lots of sherry and dark fruit with the typical Bruichladdich passion fruit also in the background. Not quite so smooth or rich as I would have liked from a sherry cask.

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
   

Bruichladdich, Infinity 3, 50% ABV

Edition 3.1

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold to sunny amber

Nose: There's sherry, it's also quite fruity, but do I detect some peat too?

Palate: Very smooth start with fruity overtones but there is indeed also an element of peat. After some seconds the spicy, fruity peat declares intent by occupying the front of the palatre and refusing to budge as it tantalises and tingles for an eternity, or is it infinity?

Finish: Long, very long with peppered fruit, finishing eventually on pears.

Overall Impression: Very smooth and very long with an element of peat and an abundance of fruit. Not your typical sherry monster, but a little more subtle and very nice indeed.

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 'Dark sherry, bottled for Munich Whisky Fair', 20y, 1986, 54.9% ABV

Brief Tasting Note: Wonderrfully rich and smooth with sherry, wood, dark fruits and berries. Delightfully rich and smooth!

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
   

Bruichladdich, 'Dark sherry, Edition #3', 20y, 1986

Brief Tasting Note: Once again wonderrfully rich and smooth with sherry, wood, dark fruits and berries. I love these editions!

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
   

Bruichladdich, 1992, 17y, 46% ABV

Sherry Edition; Fino

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light gold

Nose: Wood, new leather, slight spirit and strawberries.

Palate: Warming faint butterscotch and light toffee.

Finish: Long and smooth with that faint toffee and butterscotch. Almost fruity, but not quite.

Overall Impression: Smooth and creamy, very drinkable but not so complex. A good, uncomplex, honest dram which I may like to pair with a dessert including a caramel sauce.

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 1992, 17y, 46% ABV

Sherry Edition; Pedro Ximenex

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light walnut, almost amber

Nose: Freshly polished aged oak with raisins dunked in sherry,

Palate: Smooth and warming marzipan, walnut, sherry and oak, with a hint of fruit.

Finish: Medium to long, warming and smooth. Hints of almond and walnut marinated in rich, old red wine, perhaps even cognac.

Overall Impression: I make no apology for being a fan of good sherry cask whisky, and although slightly lighter than many, this is a very good example.

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 21y, Oloroso, 46% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich oak, light amber

Nose: My first thouht here was mountain cheese or almkδse, but this was soon replaced with aged oak, a hint of nuts (possibly walnut & almond) and eventually, that cheese threatens to return. Is that a hint of dandelion in there too? Quite possibly.

Palate: Very smooth with wood, black cherries, a hint of plums and possibly even a suggestion of figs. Then soem slightly dry nuts lead into the finish.

Finish: Medium to long, slightly dry with some nuts and wood.

Overall Impression: This is a very interesting whisky, not a 'great' but certainly good and worth a try.

 

     

 

 

WMD (Whisky of Mass Distinction)

 

Characteristics: Light, smooth, fruity

 
   

Bruichladdich, 'WMD II', distilled 1991, 14y, 46% ABV

Brief Tasting Note: Smooth, rounded & balanced with a pleasant fruity base. Very nice.

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 

 

 

Links (Golf course series)

 

Characteristics: Smooth, fruity, some red wine influences

 
   

Bruichladdich, 'Links II', 14y, 46% ABV

The 16th hole, Augusta

Typical cost of this bottle; originally €€€€€ now €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light gold

Nose: Quite fresh with malt, nuts, grass and after some minutes a little new shoe leather.

Palate: Starts smooth then the tingle penetrates the tip of the tongue. Slightly oily with some hay, lots of fruit and a little creamy ice cream.

Finish: Long, with fruit on the middle of the palate and a lasting tingle on the tip of it.

Overall Impression: Nice fruity dram from the 'laddie stable

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 'Links IV', 14y, 46% ABV

Turnberry 10th

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Golden copper

Nose: That Bruichladdich fruit overlays malt and just a slight sea air breeze.

Palate: Smooth fruit building into just slightly spicy berries and nuts.

Finish: Long and tingly

Overall Impression: Another good 14 Bruichladdich. This seems to be a pretty decent age for this distillery. Trust me, this does not need water it's perfectly fine without.

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 'Links V', 14y, 46% ABV

Royal Liverpool, Hoylake

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Copper

Nose: Fresh and fruity farmyard

Palate: Deliciously creamy vanilla ice cream and slightly spicy butterscotch

Finish: Medium with nuts and butterscotch.

Overall Impression: A really good 'anytime' dram. Smooth, easy drinking.

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 'Links VI', 14y, 46% ABV

K-Club (Ireland)

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold, dark copper

Nose: Floating mid-Atlantic in a rubber dinghy with a bottle of light, fruity red wine.

Palate: Initially smooth and cream but then the liveliness comes through with a tingle right on the front of the palate. This also brings a creamy fruit flavour, almost ice cream.

Finish: Medium to long with a lively fruity tingle.

Overall Impression: The liveliness, or tingle, coming from this dram reminds of some younger expressions, but this is far from young at 14y and the flavours are definitely true to this age, with red wine, fruit and a hint of the Atlantic. A slightly different, but jolly nice dram from Bruichladdich.

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 'Links VIII', 15y, 46% ABV

Torrey Pines (USA)

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

"Dram-atics" live review

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Coppery gold

Nose: Butterscotch, popcorn and a slight leafiness. This is a very outdoor or open countryside nose.

Palate: Silky, creamy, leafy, with hints of a milky malt drink.

Finish: Very long and quite leafy.

Overall Impression: This is a very mild, silky and creamy Bruichladdich which could be enjoyed at any time of day, although it lacks a little intensity in my opinion.

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 'Links XI', 16y, 46% ABV

The Vancouver Club, Canada

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Copper with just a touch of light red wine

Nose: Fruity cognac and very light red wine with a hint of freshly rising bread dough. After a few minutes the fruit comes through and dominates.

Palate: Extremely smooth and creamy, slightly oily texture and lots of fruit including typical Bruichladdich passion fruit, cherry, peach & bramble.

With 3 drops of water; More intense flavours and slightly sharper (more spicy tingle).

Finish: Long, fruity and creamy.

Overall Impression: A very good Bruichladdich at what seems to be the perfect age. I like it!

 

     

 

   

Bruichladdich, 'Links', NAS, 46% ABV

St. Andrews - Miniature bottle from 3-pack

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold, light copper

Nose: Malt, autumnal wet leaves and that strange but typical Bruichladdich bilge pump.

Palate: Really quite smooth, but light in flavour with leaves, fruit, faint leather and very light, freshly sawn wood.

Finish: Long, fruity, creamy and then switching to slightly bitter right at the end.

Overall Impression: This is an NAS Bruichladdich so I expected a rather lively and rough young whisky, perhaps similar in style to the Rocks and Waves 6y variants I have previously tried. What I found here was much smoother and certainly without the rough and fierce edges of those two. This is really a quite pleasant dram in texture and finish, but perhaps a little light in flavour and character.

 

     

 

 

Black, Red & Gold

If you know of samples of Blacker or Golder still, please contact me    
   

Bruichladdich, 'Black Art', 1989, 19y, 50.1% ABV

First edition of 'Black Art'

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich amber with a hint of copper for depth.

Nose: Initially toasted currant and raisins with perhaps a hint of prunes, but after a minute or two there's some good old wax (cream) furniture polish, a hint of lavendar and perhaps even a faint suggestion of banana.

Palate: Very different from what the nose suggests in that it is initially very creamy with some peppery vanilla which quickly expands to include that Bruichladdich passion fruit, albeit slightly bitter as it leads into the finish.

With 3 drops of water: The wax polish increases on the nose and the pepper dominates the palate.

Finish: Long, even longer and more peppery with the water.

Overall Impression: Is it me, or is this a rather strange, perhaps just different, Bruichladdich. It has a bit of the typical passion fruit, but personally I find it a little imbalanced and slightly bitter. One for the collectors more than the drinkers.

 

     
 

 

Bruichladdich, 'Redder Still', 1984, 50.4% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€ (original price, but now a collectible)

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark glowing amber

Nose: Very rich with furniture polish, raisins and marzipan. The polish soon fades to leave an extra depth of aged oak with dark fruits and nuts.

Palate: Very smooth, nutty and woody with dark chocolate and cappuccino with just a hint of burgundy.

With 4 drops of water: The nose is lighter with more fruit and woodiness. The palate is still very creamy with a deep fruitiness and nuttiness, but it's now developing a light pepperiness.

Finish: Long, even longer and more peppery with the water.

Overall Impression: I love this whisky, it's creamy, warming and filled with character.

 

   

 

 

Peat & The 3D Range

 

Characteristics: Smooth, fruity and lots of peat

 
   

Bruichladdich, 'Peat', 46% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Bugatti Kelch

Nose Typical Bruichladdich bilge pump and engine room with a hint of burnt rubber and smoke.
No, this is not unpleasant, but that's just how it noses!

Palate: The house style of Bruichladdich is a fruity base, possibly passion fruit and this dram is no exception to that, but it also has hints of slightly burnt rubber and a ship's engine room. The 'peat' gives a further dimension of smoke as if the engine has just burst into flames and is smoking the place out.

Overall Impression: Despite what you may think from the notes, I do like this dram. It has that typical 'laddie fruity style with a gentle peaty smoke which creeps up gradually as if trying to surprise. When it does fully arrive, it is really much peatier than one would have first thought.

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, '3D Peat proposal', 46% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Brief Tasting Note: Soft, gentle & warming peat with typical bruichladdich fruit in there too.

 
   

Bruichladdich, '3D Edition 2; Moine Mhor', 50% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Brief Tasting Note: Lots of peat, but slightly less fruit and more harsh than Peat Proposal.

 
   

Bruichladdich, '3D3 Norrie Campbell', 46% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Gentle, light gold

Nose: Peat, a little smoke, sweet fruit and that typical Bruichladdich blige pump!

Palate: The initial hints of fruit very quickly give way to gentle peat which builds on the palate into something pretty good.

Finish: Medium to long

Overall Impression: I like this one very much, maybe even more than the original Peat Proposal which was a favourite of mine.

 

     

 

 

Port Charlotte

  Characteristics: Lots of peat often with fruity background  
   

Bruichladdich, 'Port Charlotte', PC5, 5y

Brief Tasting Note: Wild, unadulterated, full strength peat and smoke pounding the palate into total submission. A monster, but one you must try if you find it!

Typical cost of this bottle; Originally €€€€€, now €€€€€

 
   

Bruichladdich, 'Port Charlotte', PC6, 6y, 61.6% abv

Typical cost of this bottle; Originally €€€€€, now €€€€€

"Dram-atics" live review

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark gold (21ct)

Nose: Peat, Atlantic jetty, a little sweet rubber and that often typical Bruichladdich bilge pump make this a 'laddie with attitude.

Palate: Ferocious peat, quite sweet, it needs some water.

With 4 drops of water: Slightly sweeter, but still lots of peat.

4 more drops of water; Sweeter nose, but also more fragrant.

A further 4 drops of water; This is now manic peat with just a touch of light rubber.

A final 4 drops of water: Smoother and sweeter, less intense. It was better before this last 4 drops.

Finish: Extremely long with peppery peat.

Overall Impression: A very good peaty Bruichladdich, This has more attributes of the PC5 than the PC7 which means it is still a little young and fiery, but it packs a big punch which takes quite some taming. Not for the timid but it's a massive whisky!

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 'Port Charlotte', PC7, 61% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€ (but only just over the €75)

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Nose: Peat over that typical Bruichladdich passion fruit.

Palate: Much sweeter and smoother than I expected. The initial flavour is that of the passion fruit, but this soon grows to include peat and smoke which lingers on the palate for a long time.

With 4 drops of water: The fruit rather than the peat increases on the palate with water. This is quite surprising.

Overall Impression: I remember this distillation as the PC5 and it was a real monster. This has now experienced 2 more years of maturation and I have to say, it is better for it. This whisky is much more civilised, smoother and yet it still contains lots of peat and smoke for the peat-heads amongst us.

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 'Port Charlotte' PC8, 60.5% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Golden yellow

Nose: Sweet peat and lots of it. Once again this is a sweet, fruity peat whisky with gentle hints of rubber dinghy on the open sea.

Palate: An initial burst of typical Bruichladdich passion fruit followed by sweet peat, but it really announces its high abv and needs some water.

With 4 drops of water: The nose is now more conventional peat, but the palate is still initially creamy and fruity, rather like peaty ice cream (did anyone ever think of making that flavour; Islay ice?)

4 more drops of water; really help the peat on the nose and also remove the fruit and ice cream from the palate, leaving more intense peat and smoke.

A further 4 drops of water; really mellow this whisky into a gentle peat treat, but I think this may have really been 4 drops too far.

Overall Impression: A very good peaty Bruichladdich, it needs water, but not too much!

 

     
   

Bruichladdich, 'Port Charlotte' An Turas Mor, 46% ABV

Multi-Vintage Port Charlotte released 2010

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow

Nose: Peat, light fresh sawdust and a hint of mango

Palate: Lovely sweet peat with a side order of mango & papaya which all grow intensely on the palate.

Finish: Very long and is that a suggestion of liquorice right at the end?

Overall Impression: Very good, delightful.

 

     
 

 

Bruichladdich, 'Port Charlotte' PC9, 59.2% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark cork

Nose: An initial burst of crθme Brulιe fades slowly to leave slightly rubbery vanilla and what I can only describe as a rather earthy rich red wine.

Palate: A creamy mouth-feel whilst being quite rich and heavy in character. There's black pepper and an earthy peatiness with lots of background fruitiness.

With 4 drops of water: The nose is considerably lighter with no rubberiness, only intense fruity peat. The palate has more pepperiness alongside raspberry, strawberry and peat.

With 4 more drops of water: Even lighter nose with less peatiness and much more fruitiness. Amazingly, the palate now belies the nose as if anything it's richer, deeper and more intense.

Finish: Long, even longer with water.

Overall Impression: Very good whisky which really burst into even more life when the water was added. Excellent and almost a "Great" with water.

 

   

 

 

 

Bruichladdich, 'Port Charlotte' Bloodtub, 2001, 46% ABV

Private Cask Bottling

Cask No.36, 12.6.2001 - 31.3.2009, bottle No.27 of 42

Typical cost of this bottle; Unsure, but I expect €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Bugatti Kelch

Colour: Teak

Nose: Peaty furniture polish with a side order of raisins and leather. Over time the leather expands and creates a formidable presence. A suggestion of cherries and marzipan too maybe?

Palate: Exceptionally smooth and creamy mouth-feel as everything from the nose develops onto the palate, with the cherries and marzipan being much more prominent here.

With 4 drops of water: Lots more marzipan on both nose and palate.

Finish: Extremely long and a little dry with lots of plums, raisins and cherries.

Overall Impression: Excellent, truly excellent. Very rich, very bold and I want more.

 

     
 

 

Bruichladdich, 'Port Charlotte' 9y, 11.12.2001-7.2.2011, 63.4% ABV

Cask No.895, shery hogshead, bottle No.302 of 309

bottled for WhiskyFriends in Denmark

Typical cost of this bottle; Unsure

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich amber with a tinge of copper

Nose: Peaty rubber with lots of fruity red wine, herbs and flora. Some aged oak too. In fact this is extremely aromatic beyond the initial peat and rubber.

Palate: Plenty of peat but also a rich burgundy (wine) presence. This really has lots of creamy, peppery oomph!

With 5 drops of water: Lots more fruit and burgundy on the nose whilst the palate really comes alive with massively fruity peat.

Finish: Extremely long with lots of creamy, fruity peatiness.

Overall Impression: Red grapes, good red wine, excellent whisky.

 

   
 

 

TWE, 'Port Charlotte' Pl1, 60% ABV

"Elements of Islay" series

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€ to €€€€€

Reviewed (blind) as part of MMA 2012

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich and dark

Nose: Very rich, unbaked (English) Christmas cake mix. Oak and rum? Something almost, but not quite Atlantic. After 3-4 minutes a very light rubberiness begins to develop which expands into very light Pirelli P1.

Palate: Creamy and initially very tingly on the tongue. No rubberiness here, just fine flavours with light cappuccino and mild chocolate alongside a suggestion of amaretto.

Finish: Long and creamily luxurious.

Overall Impression: Lots of individual traits come together in a really balanced way. Excellent indeed.

 

   

 

 

Octomore

  Characteristics: Heavy peat, bilge pumps and even some red wine  
   

Octomore, 2.1, 62.5% ABV

Bottle No. 7755 of 15,000

The peatiest whisky ever? 140ppm

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale yellow

Nose: Extremely pungent bilge pump / engine room with fruity peat.

Palate: Earthy fruit with extreme alcohol, needs water.

With 5 drops of water: Fruity peat on the nose and much sharper on the palate.

With 5 more drops of water: Slightly rubbery nose with fruit, smoke and peat. Smoother palate.

With 5 drops of water: Much more rubber on the nose and very smooth on the palate.

Overall Impression: Here is Bruichladdich's answer in the ppm numbers game and supposedly comes in at 140ppm, but is this so much more peaty than the rest? Definitely not. It is more pungent with what I refer to as the Bruichladdich 'bilge pump' scenario, but the peatiest ever? Hardly. Is it good? Hmmmm, I think I prefer the 3D range!

 

     
   

Octomore, 2.2 "Orpheus", 61% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

"Dram-atics" live review

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich coppery amber

Nose: Banana skin, red wine (almost tawny port), a little sulphur as sensed when a burning match is extinguished.

Palate: Quite different to the nose as this has lots of peppery red wine, dark red fruits and an amazing amaretto kick-back through the nostrils, but it needs water.

With 5 drops of water: Enhanced fruit (dark cherries), red wine and a touch of cognac over faint smoke.

With 5 more drops of water: Smoked ham now joins the red wine and cognac.

With 5 drops of water: Even more fruit with the red wine

Finally 5 more drops of water: Peat now emerges from the hidden depths of red wine and cognac.

Finish: Red wine and fruit with more peat as water is progressively added.

Overall Impression: I feel as though I could continue adding water all night to this dram as it just got better and better each time I did. This is a delightful and amazing whisky, but surprising at the same time as the red wine and fruit almost totally dominate the peat. Is that a bad thing? Certainly not, it's fantastic. Gimme more ... and more .... and more ......

 

     
 

 

Octomore, 04.2_167 "Comus", 61% ABV

Aged 5 years, one of 18,000 bottles

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow / straw

Nose: This begins very slowly .. very slowly .. some farmy grassiness? OK, so maybe an Islay farm. This slowly turns quite herbal and gives me another of those childhood flashbacks .. my goodness, it's one of my favourite childhood fizzy drinks; Dandelion & Burdock! OK, so the whisky isn't fizzy and it is alcoholic, but you know what I mean. After some 5 minutes or so it turns very fresh, almost minty alongside that herbal character which now inlcudes rosemary and basil.

Palate: Very intense creamy fruitiness, then comes ... you guessed it .. some (peppery) peatiness.

With 4 drops of water: Lots of minty rubbery peat on the nose. The palate offers a lightly maritime fruitiness (strawberry) alongside a peppery peatiness.

With 4 more drops of water: More light peatiness on both nose and palate, but the palate also has the fruitiness of green apple.

Finish: Medium, but very long with water.

Overall Impression: This Octomore is labelled as 167ppm, but once again for me it isn't really about peat. There is some present, but the peatiest ever at 167ppm? It really doesn't seem so to me. In fact I tried this in a Head-to-Head with the PC9 and for me, the PC9 offered more intense peatiness. Having said this, it has an excellent balance between fruit and peat and is a very good whisky.

  

 

   

 

 

The "X" Factor?

  Characteristics: Smooth, fruit, spirity, grappa-like  
   

Bruichladdich, X4+3, 63.5% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale yellow

Nose: Extreme burn from spirit with a hint of smouldering electric cabling.

Palate: Quite smooth, but extreme spirit with hints of lenor fabric conditioner.

With 5 drops of water: Hints of liquorice just beginning to appear, but it needs more water.

With 5 more drops of water: Lighter, rubbery palate

With 5 drops of water: Warmer and gentler but still quite spirity, although there is now more fruit on the palate with peach, apple & pear.

Overall Impression: I didn't manage to write tasting notes but some time ago I did try the X4+1 (Valinch) which was just a spirit monster, like an untamed grappa. This one is still full of spirit at 63.5% abv, but it does tame somewhat with water. It is also pretty smooth and eventually, when watered beyond 50-50 it does turn quite fruity, although it never abandones its origins of quadruple distilled, mega-spirit.

 

     

 

 

Independent Bottlers

     
   

The Whisky Exchange "Br1", 53.6% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

"Dram-atics" live review

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Yellow gold (9ct)

Nose: Very floral, vanilla and ice cream. After some minutes a maritime element appears which confuses natural geography as a delightful Springtime Alpine meadow is suddenly placed alongside an Atlantic beach on Islay.

Palate: Fruit cocktail served with vanilla ice cream on that Atlantic beach.

With 4 drops of water: Vanilla and freshly cut wood on the nose. The palate also remains quite light with freshly cut wood, lots offruit but slightly less Alpine flora.

With 4 more drops: Again lots of fruit and vanilla on the nose which translate nicely onto the palate with aromatic wood, star fruit and melon.

Finish: Long, even longer with water and baskets full of fruit, albeit slightly dry.

Overall Impression: An extremely fruity Bruichladdich which must be from an excellent bourbon cask and un-ACE'd. A delight, I love this whisky!

 

     
   

The Whisky Exchange, Br2,  48.3% ABV

"Elements of Islay" range

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Live Dram-atics review

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale yellow

Nose: Initially slightly leafy malt, then expanding with a quite floral presence, but always light and fresh. The leafiness soon returns and very aromatically so with a definite sweetness.

Palate:
The nose is personnified with a very aromatic leafiness combined with light freshness leading into a deceptively long finish.

Finish: Deceptively long

Overall Impression: Most enjoyable.

 

   
   

Whisky Doris, Port Charlotte, 7y. 10.11.2002 - 21.9.2010, 63.5% ABV

Bourbon Hogshead No. 1171, bottle No.252 of 298

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark cork

Nose: Initially fruity, leathery peat then after some time the fruitiness fades whilst the leather expands. The peat is always evident.

Palate: This has a big punch of leathery peat. It's also quite creamy and smooth, even though there's lots of alcohol. Vanilla and apple too.

Finish: Long smooth and peaty

Overall Impression: An excellent whisky. Is it really only 7y?

 

   
 

 

The Whisky Exchange, Br4,  54.7% ABV

"Elements of Islay" range

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale / white wine

Nose: A faint maltiness accompanies candy floss and a light grassiness or even flora. It's all quite light and delicate but yet manages a surprising intensity.

Palate: Definite maltiness and grassiness but also a suggestion of liquorice ensuring the intensity comes to the palate too, but unlike the nose I detect no floral notes.

Finish: Very long with more of that liquorice.

Overall Impression: Nice and intense 'natural' Bruichladdich. Great nose, solid palate.

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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