[Tasting Session] Bruichladdich 05/12/16

After a quiet fortnight because of work, I am back with the account of the Bruichladdich tasting I attended on Monday. I do not normally tend to go to tasting sessions during the working week, but I made an exception this time as it was a Bruichladdich special, and I thought I might get to try some of their latest 10 year-old releases. It was run by their brand ambassador Abi Clephane and was held at the Whisky shop Manchester. We were presented with four bottles originally before two more appeared. Abi was, in my mind, what a good brand ambassador should be like: very enthusiastic, passionate about the whisky and what the distillery stands for, full of stories and anecdotes about the people who contribute to the elaboration of the amber nectar, without forgetting to mention a good measure of "terroir"!
Abi Clephane - Bruichladdich brand ambassador
The night started with their entry bottle, the Classic Laddie, a very solid unpeated dram made from barley exclusively grown in Scotland. Having tasted the Bruichladdich new make spirit at the distillery, I must say that I could really taste it in this whisky, and not in an bad way: fruity barley with a hint of salty coastal notes. A extremely pleasant way of waking up your taste buds at the beginning of the night!
We continued the tasting with the Islay Barley 2009, a bottle I own and reviewed in a precious post. Lovely barley taste and of course, no surprise for me here. If you want the full review, you can click here.
Things started to get even more interesting when Abi offered to contrast the Islay Barley with the brand new Laddie 10. The Bruichladdich 10 is the second release of this 10 year-old single malt, aged in a mix of first-fill bourbon, sherry and wine casks. The result, a very enjoyable whisky, creamy, fruity with some spice. Only 18,000 bottles are available, so don't wait too much to get hold of one!
We then moved on to peat with the Port Charlotte Scottish Barley. I had also tried this one before and it, too, is delicious. You are swapping the lighter coastal and barley notes for savoury and smoky notes with some delicious sweetness wrapping the flavours around.
Despite the excellent line up, the star of the night was for me the Octomore 7.4 Virgin Oak. At 167ppm, this is not the peatiest of the range, but the time it spent in virgin oak makes it a wonderful experience. And having checked the description on the Laddie website, I agree with their description of the 7.4: "sweetness, peat smoke and the richness of toasted oak clamour for your attention as the warming strength of the spirit ignites." It is an superb mix of sweet and peaty flavours which do not seem to want to leave you for a very long while. Amazing! The only problem with it, is that it saturated my taste buds with so much goodness that they were incapable of fully enjoying the Port Charlotte 10 I was offered at the end. 
What I love about Bruichladdich is that all their bottles are bottled at higher strength of 50% ABV and above (apart from their Black Art range), non-chill filtered and natural colour. They are trying to keep the whole production as authentic as possible and as transparent for the customer as possible. You can, for instance, check the actual composition of your bottle of Classic Laddie by imputing its 5 digit code into the Classic Laddie page on their website (found here). The only thing Bruichladdich do not do is the malting of the barley but Abi told me it is something they are planning for the future, particularly for their Islay barley bottles, so watch this space!

Thank you to the Whisky shop again and to Abi Clephane for such an enjoyable tasting session.


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