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 unpeated and Port Charlotte heavily peated lineup
Bruichladdich…making scotch in small batches

Bruichladdich Scotch Whisky tasting

At Eastern Standard, Boston, hosted by Jason Cousins, August 7, 2019

Bruichladdich Classic Scottish Barley

50%ABV
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Islay, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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

50%ABV
A barley variety from a single Orkney estate; a 6-row barley that grows fast but with less yield, and has more protein & less starch in it, 8 yr ex-bourbon cask
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Bourbon Cask Finish, Islay, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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

50%ABV
Single estate organic barley, Mid Coul, near Inverness, 8 yr ex-bourbon cask, entire process organic, matured on Islay
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Blended Whisky, Bourbon Cask Finish, Islay, Scotch, Single Malt
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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 Classic, Bere Barley, and Organic in bottles
Our control of Bruichladdich Classic, followed by the new releases of Bere Barley and Organic Barley

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 yr

50%ABV, 40ppm
Uses Highland peat to get a Speyside type of flavor; blended from 65% first-fill American whiskey casks, 10% second-fill American whiskey casks, and 25% second-fill French wine casks
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Islay, Peated, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: flower and forest smoke, vanilla
  • Taste: ash stars, 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

59.2%ABV, 40ppm
100% malted barley fromn Invernesshire; aged 6 yrs in American oak and 1 yr in Boardeaux wine cask
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: American Oak Cask Finish, Cask Strength, Islay, Peated, Scotch, Whisky, Wine Cask Finish
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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
two Port Charlotte heavily peated new released in bottles
Here comes the peat…the new Port Charlotte releases

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 numbering system
Yes, those Octomore Edition numbers mean something…

 

 

Adam Hannett, Bruichladdich's Master Distiller
Adam Hannett, Bruichladdich’s Head Distiller, imparting his scotch wisdom

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

59.8%ABV, 107ppm
Aged 5 yrs
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Bourbon Cask Finish, Islay, Peated, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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

61.3%ABV, 114ppm
Islay barley from 1 harvest, similar to 10.1, looking for the terroir of the scotch, Aged 6yrs
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Bourbon Cask Finish, Islay, Peated, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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

63.5%ABV, 88ppm
Aged 3 yrs in a heavily toasted French Virgin Oak cask
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: French Virgin Oak Finish, Islay, Peated, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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
samples Octomore Edition series 10 lineup in glasses
We’re ready to taste these wonderful Octomore Edition 10 drams.

 

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, and 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!

Tammy

 

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