With Bruichladdich's unpeated & peated lineup, from their namesake line to Port Charlotte Heavily Peated & Octomore Edition series, there's a dram for every palate!
A quick reminder...
It's been a while since I've presented a tasting review for you. There are a couple of reasons for this...first, I told you change was a-comin' in that I'm shifting my focus to more of the baking side of things (that, and I wanna whittle down that ever-growing baking list of mine). Also, I want to reserve review posts for expressions I haven't yet tried. Luckily, I had two recent experiences that gave me a chance to try something fresh...new releases from Bruichladdich unpeated offerings and peated expressions from Port Charlotte & Octomore Edition series.
Bruichladdich's unpeated & peated lineup...something for every palate
Back in August I was treated to lunch and a scotch tasting with Jason Cousins, Bruichladdich's New England Brand Development Manager. He filled me in about Bruichladdich's new Bere Barley 2010 and The Organic 2010 unpeated expressions, and expressions from Port Charlotte's Heavily Peated 10 and MRC:01 2010. We prepped our palates with a sip of Bruichladdich's Classic Laddie unpeated scotch, then stepped through this wonderful lineup. Jason gave me interesting facts about each offering and patiently answered all my questions. These drams paired beautifully with our lunch of seared tuna salad and our dessert of chocolate mousse and apple crumble (yes, two desserts...I'm livin' the high life!).
Enough about lunch...let's get to the tasting!
Bruichladdich Scotch Whisky tasting
At Eastern Standard, Boston, hosted by Jason Cousins, August 7, 2019
Bruichladdich Classic Scottish Barley
- Nose: barley, light ocean breezes, moss
- Taste: soft entry, cereal, oatmeal, light brown sugar,
- Finish: fades to baking spices and light brown sugar
- Comments: very clean and pure, lots of grains and an easy sweetness
Bruidladdich Bere Barley 2010
- Nose: pineapple, peaches, floral, aromatic, vanilla and honey underneath
- Taste: medium body, wehat, then cloves and allspice
- Finish: allspice fades to peach butter and leather
- Comments: fruit pulp emphasis with baking spices thrown in for good measure. Beautiful sip...needs to be savored
Bruichladdich The Organic 2010
- Nose: deeper, more robust barley aroma, date syrup, white chocolate
- Taste: soft to spicy, vanilla fudge, honey syrup, rises to white pepper, reasted cereal, thick body
- Finish: pears at the end
- Comments: deep flavors of toast well balanced with orchard fruit sweetness
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 yr
- Nose: flower and forest smoke, vanilla
- Taste: ash starts, pine, then orchard fruits take over
- Finish: orchard fruits linger with cold campfire ash
- Comments: gentle nose, not aggresive, fruity and ashy, dichotemy between Islay name and forest flavor
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte MRC:01 2010 Cask Strength
- Nose: barley first, cooked plums next, fruit leather, very light ash
- Taste: light hot charcoal, blak pepper, allspice, cloves, not as much fruit
- Finish: cloves linger, soft ash beneath
- Comments: definately can tell this is cask strength, goes great with chocolate!; with water more pine and pineapple on nose, still have ash on the palate that fades to foresty ash, peaches, and an herbal note
And then there's Octomore...
Jason later invited me to a masterclass led by none other than Adam Hannett, Bruichladdich's Head Distiller. A personable fellow just to chat with, Adam educated us with his deep knowledge about the ins and outs of making what is, in essence, a craft scotch. In fact, the Bruichladdich Bere Barley and Organic expressions fall into that category as well.
The Octomore Edition series is based on a specific goal in mind for each expression based on the type of barley and the type of cask used. A numbering system is employed as a guide so the consumer can know what is the emphasis of a particular bottle (see photo below). Because growing conditions change from year to year, each year's expressions have a unique flavor profile. The way Adam presented each whisky emphasized how the plan was to make a scotch singular unto itself, using vintage stills and small batch techniques. And boy, did they succeed!
Octomore Edition Series
At The Hawthorne, Boston, hosted by Jason Cousins, presented by Adam Hannett (Bruichladdich Head Distiller), October 2, 2019
Bruichladdich Octomore Edition 10.1
- Nose: honey, hay, barley, vanilla fudge, orchard fruits, citrus, smoke underneath
- Taste: smoke hits, white pepper, honey, light peaches, candied lemon peel, oily body
- Finish: fades to ash, wheat, subtle sweetness, candied lemon peel lingers
- Comments: the smoke hits hard but very pleasantly, doesn’t burn so much as smolder with honey & candied fruit; well balanced between smoke, vanilla, & candied fruit
Bruichladdich Octomore Edition 10.3
- Nose: peaches, clover honey, heather, no smoke just fruit
- Taste: chewy, peaches, thick honey, a little savory with bbq sauces then smoke decides to show up
- Finish: smoke rises at the middle to the end, mingling with that bbq sauce quality
- Comments: think smoky peach bbq sauce on ribs; the smoke is complimented by the peaches, phenomenal! A wonderful representation of Islay, so drinkable
Bruichladdich Octomore Edition 10.4
- Nose: honey, oak tannins, cooked fruit, salty, deep caramel almost burnt
- Taste: oily sweetness, then thick smoke & prunes, salty sweet
- Finish: smoke & astringent fruits linger long and strong
- Comments: almost like it’s from a sherry cask, high-alcohol almost balances the stong virgin oak influences; sea breezes on the tongue but not iodine, crusty salt & cooked prunes; drying in the mouth
Mentioning Octomore either elicits cheers or groans from people because Octomore bills itself as "the world's most heavily peated series of single malt scotch whiskies." That label can be daunting, but even within Octomore Edition series there is variance and subtlety. All their peated scotch are eminently drinkable. This Octomore Edition lineup is truly worth seeking out.
Many thanks go to Jason for including me in these two tasting events...I enjoyed this deep dive into Bruichladdich's unpeated & peated lineup very much. And just as when I got to attend a tasting with Kavalan Master Blender, Ian Chang, hearing Adam's talk about the making of Octomore Edition series was fun and informative. Bruichladdich's handcrafted expressions, whether unpeated or peated, certainly fit my palate, and hopefully yours as well!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!