Sunday, 18 May 2014

Bruichladdich, some more OBs

I became rather interested in Bruichladdich after the trilogy of verticals I did before (the Laddies, the Black Arts and the Octomores), and have been hunting down everything else I can get my hands on.  This is the first in a second trilogy, this time documenting a bunch of OBs (from their fabulously complicated range of one offs and core expressions).  Next up will be a set of independently bottled Bruichladdichs.  Finally, I’ll do a bunch of Port Charlottes (mostly SMWSes as it’s too hard to get hold of the OB stuff).  Let’s go…

Bruichladdich The Seventeen, Rum Cask, 46% A+

bruichladdich_17_year_rum_cask (1)Nose – Warm, waxy.  Cream poured over orange jelly.  A faint backing of the Bruichladdich cereal.  A herbal, leafy quality, like a freshly cut beech hedge.  The rum sweetness is there, but very nicely integrated and balanced. Bright with an edge of big mac special sauce about it (if you know what I mean, and yes in a good way!).  Lovely nose.  Takes a little while to open up, be warned.

Body – Bright malt.  Sweet and structured, and quite elegant too.  Good toasted malt backing.

Finish – Some spicy heat develops, gradually replacing the toffee malt.  Very long, ending with a moreish, numbing character.

What's not good about it: Lacks intensity.

What’s good about it: Lovely sweetness, good structure too.  A well integrated and very drinkable whisky.

Bruichladdich Scottish Barley, the classic laddie, 50% A+

This is a replacement for the laddie 10.  Great work coming up with a worthy contender for this crown, even if it is a NAS making up for low stocks of 10 year old.

Bruichladdich-Scottish-Barley-The-Classic-Laddie-0-7l-50-.5940aNose – Immediate quality – a bright, if sour, citrus cereal.  Honeyed, some rich, floral perfume.  Sweet, toasted cereal and ripe blood orange.

Body – Ripe, very sweet, then spicy, lots of mature wood with some fiery alcohol.  good wood presence - bold but balanced.


What's not good about it: Citrus cereal is a bit challenging.  The curdled note would be quite hard going if you took a dislike to it.

What’s good about it: Ripe, sweet, then spicy with some fiery alcohol.  Good wood presence, loads of toffee sweetness.

Bruichladdich Cuvee 382, La Berenice, 21 years old, 46% A+

A 21 year old that started life as bourbon casks, then has been racked into wine casks that previously held Barsac and Sauternes (I believe that when Bruichladdich says Sauternes they always mean Chateau D’Yquem, but they can’t say so.  I don’t know for sure though).  I am currently on a mission to meet and move in with all Bruichladdich’s that have spent time with Yquem (much cheaper than ever trying the wine of course).  Consequently, here’s this:

Dec12-BruichladdichCuvee-382-1 (1)Nose – Elegant but very sweet glacĂ© cherries and candied malt.  Crayons, travel sweets and something meaty – browning chuck steak perhaps?  That’s faint and steadying rather than bad, though – this is a balanced whisky.  Behind this there’s a dusty, leather armchair note, a green edge of rosemary and some cut pine planks, and cigar tobacco.  But it’s still very sweet and complex.  Very good.  With water the floral, fruity spirit opens up and the floral malt is evident.  A little more cigarette than cigar.  

Body – Sweet malt and tobacco immediately, some sweetness, then grapes.  Becomes quite intensely sweet and floral.  With water things are a lot more smooth and sensual, floral and some oak shows itself.

Finish – Red wine, then an oddly salty tang begins to dominate.  Quite a business-like finish given what happened at the start.

What's not good about it: The sweetness isn’t really integrated, although it is balanced.  The finish is a bit of a let down although the arrival is lovely.

What’s good about it: As deeply intense on the arrival as the colour suggests, and quite complex overall.  Ripe, leather and great complexity.  Lovely whisky, particularly with a drop of water.

Bruichladdich Cuvee 407 - PX, La Noche Bocca Arriba, 46% A

bruob.21yov6Nose - Pedro Ximenez does tend to dominate on the nose, again here but lovely and fresh and well integrated.  Boiled sweets, pritt stick, prunes, sauternes grape edge and a background of fresh, blond oak.  Some fresh cigarette tobacco and some bourbon soaked raisins.

Body - Balanced with a little drying sulphur and drying all over really, goes well with the sweetness.  Good wood, then a belt of dusty raisins.  I quite like it.

Finish - Medium, sourness approaches, a more Oloroso sherry ending with quite dry, structured notes.  Unexpectedly dry but I can’t fault it for that, however the sourness and that sulphur twang is coming through, which is at fault.

What's not good about it: Complicated but unbalanced and not too well balanced.  I can’t abide a wrong footed sulphur edge either.

What’s good about it: Lovely sweet arrival, fresh, delicious nose that promises so much.  Great development but then pulls up a bit dry and a little short on the finish

Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2006, 50% A⊕

The second release of Bruichladdich’s whisky made with barley grown on Islay.  Thanks to Jon Webb for the sample.

Nose - Lovely, elegant, floral wax and toffee malt backing - textbook Bruichladdich from the initial impression right through the full investigation.  Lots of coffee chocolate, really rich and perfumed.  Ripe, rich and balanced.  Lovely.

Body - Toffee.  Deep toffee, caramel, then honeyed, toasted malt and an almost savoury cereal backing.  Unripe pear, then some retronasal grapefruit.  Really chocolatey too.

Finish - The deep fried corn kernels from the new make is back, tasty, salty and savoury as well as chewily sweet and addictive.  Quite long, good balance, good integration.

What's not good about it: Not enormously complicated

What’s good about it: Youthful, energetic, delicious, herbal, sweet, well balanced and very high quality.  Bravo.

Bruichladdich The Organic, 46% A

I’m not aware of any other organic whiskies, although I haven’t looked because it makes as much sense to me as organic mattresses.  However, all aspects of Bruichladdich are of interest to me.  Thanks to Matt Veira for the sample.

bruichladdich-the-organic-multi-vintage-whiskyNose - A little more intensity than the Islay Barley, a little more savoury, less elegant and less complex, but with that vitality and quality that make Bruichladdich whisky so fascinating.  Wax and toast, dark cereal and honey.  Floral, sweet, herbaceous, some freshly cut grass and a hint of freshly cut red chilli.

Body - Toffee malt, biscuity cereal, some chilli heat now, a kiss of smoke.

Finish - Quite short, a little numbing, quite effervescent but now showing its lack of age.

What's not good about it: Short, revealing finish (a little ordinary), the chilli and light peat works against this whisky and shows it up a bit.

What’s good about it: Classic Bruichladdich presentation, lovely toffee malt and biscuity sweetness, lovely nose. Good value.

Bruichladdich X4 Malt Spirit, 50%

A quadruple distilled new make spirit.  Makes me yearn for the new Octomore Discovery all the more!

bruob.non11Nose - Fresh but delicious..  A momentary hint of cereal.  Hand soap, fresh, wet, sage and grains.  A little cracked black pepper crisps.  Even with no wood contact this has some toffee malt.  The spirit at Bruichladdich is amazing, no wonder the whisky rocks!

Body - Citrus, another hint of that cereal.  More grapefruit and a little toffee malt.  

Finish - Popcorn.  Deep fried corn kernels.  Fleeting.

Actually very pleasant for a new make, fresh and quite drinkable.  No doubt an excellent vodka alternative in cocktails.

Bruichladdich Octomore 6.2, 58.2% A⊕+

Travel Retail only, but why?  ACEd in eau de vie casks.  Thanks to Jon Webb for the sample.

bruichladdich-octomore-6-2Nose - Exotic, Asian wood, sandalwood and incense in general.  Some frazzles, burnt toast, honeydew melon and lychees.  Toasted turmeric and cumin.  Deeply sweet, but a little scary and quite sexy. .

Body - Exotic, bright but rich delivery, exactly what I love about Octomore.  Actually massively rich, almost meaty.  Brightly sweet, almost alien fruit.  Lots of peat of course, bright and oily and deeply toffeed.

Finish - Medium, short, effortless, natural, sweet but easy going.  Classy red tannins, completely balanced.  Very bold and self assured. It ends with an almost porter/dark beer note.  Extremely tasty.

What's not good about it: Can’t think of anything.  I could drink this forever more.

What’s good about it: Lovely ripe, red fruit, classic Octomore beauty, not so much challenging as exciting.  Like your 5th ever cigarette smoked outside the gig you’re about to play when you’re 15.  Another x.2 masterpiece.

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