Saturday, 9 March 2013

Bruichladdich Tweet Tasting

Hot on the heels of last weeks Irish Whiskey Tweet Tasting, Steve Rush of The Whisky Wire has treated us to our first trip over to Islay to explore a bounty of progressive hebredian delights from the Bruichladdich distillery.

Checking back through my 'Liquid Log' I've only tried one Bruichladdich on my journey to date, which is really quite shocking! I tried the Laddie 10 last year as part of a sample swap and Skype tasting with @whiskyrepublic

I must admit I don't recall seeing a great deal of Bruichladdich at the whisky shows attended last year and although I know they were exhibiting at last weekends Whisky Birmingham festival, I foolishly kept clear of their stand so tonight's tweet tasting would be the first real exposure to this distillery. 
A fabulous line up of four 20cl samples from Bruichladdich
I read a really interesting article about the re-birth of the Bruichladdich Distillery a couple of weeks back in The New Yorker entitled 'A Letter from Islay' which tells the story of how Mark Reynier managed to get his hands on the distillery, eleven years after first setting eyes on the place in 1989. 

Last summer the company made the announcement that it was selling out to Rémy Cointreau, the French company whose products include Rémy Martin cognac and Cointreau liqueur.

The generous samples arrived at Whisky Discovery, four 20cl (quarter) bottles, one each of The Organic, Islay Barley 2006, The Laddie Ten and Black Art 3.

As usual the proceedings started at 7:00pm and all tweets should have been tweeted with the #Laddie10TT hashtag

Whisky Discovery #340

Bruichladdich The Organic NAS (46% abv)
Islay Single Malt Whisky
Circa £38.00 70 cl
This latest Bruichladdich Organic follows on from the 2003 edition. There are few current production single malts that are certified organic. It has been made with organic Scottish barley which is certified by the Biodynamic Agricultural Association. It's a lightly peated multi vintage vatting in which Jim McEwan has brought together the finest organic barley from their own and partners farms, the distillate being matured in ex-bourbon American oak casks 

So What Did We Think?

Kat: Kat is still suffering with cold symptoms so has not tasted these yet. We'll update the post as soon as she had gathered her thoughts

Dave: The nose opened with sweet grapes for me, this was followed by green apples, Robinson's Barley water, it's malty, with soft citrus notes and with time fragrant floral notes, jasmine like develop. The nose of this evolves with notes of kiwi fruit, a light touch of honey, a subdued white pepper and the smell of a recently harvested wheat/barley field with some earthy tones. With a drop of water the sweetness of the nose is enhanced and vanilla notes are more prominent

On the palate it was sweet on entry with a light brine taste. It has a very smooth and gentle mouth-feel. There are flavours of malted milk biscuits, barley sugar, sweet pear drops, almonds, and a very gentle spiciness. The gentle sweetness slowly fades with some more summer harvest notes, lovely! he Organic is velvety smooth, very drinkable! 

A very light delicate dram, velvety smooth and gentle in it's approach with sweet barley water, honey and lemon flavours. This is very drinkable and would be a great summer picnic dram

So what did everybody else think?
@rodbodtoo: First sniff and I got a big whack of pears! And Eau-de-cologne!
@mattveira: Nose: Bags of cereal character, hints of lemon and buckets of vanilla! 
@ifotou: Definitely has a grape like quality, lots of nice oak and vanilla custard, touches of the fruity malt loaf that my wife likes too
@TheWhiskyOracle: On the palette, a hint of sandalwood or nutmeg
@mynameisgone: Palate citrus fruits, peppery but with a sweet note running behind it 
@champdenwhite: Honey almonds and sweetness up front. Barley sugar and then pears (drops, not tinned this time).
@sjoerd972: Finish is light and crisp again. Wild flowers, barley, some crisp grape like quality on a backdrop of malt, wood and vanilla.

Whisky Discovery #341

Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2006 NAS (50% abv)
Islay Single Malt Whisky
Circa £38.00 70 cl
This is the second release of their 'Uber-Provenance Islay Barley Series' I have a bottle of the original 2004 release (and the proof plate that I won last year) which I have still not opened yet!

This spirit has been distilled from barley grown by partner farmers on Islay specifically for Bruichladdich. This release has been made from Barley grown on the eastern side of the island in Jubilee field at the place known as the 'Headland of the Gallows' on Dunlossit Farm.

@Bruichladdich: The 2006 Islay Barley is about as Uber-provenance as you can get. Single vintage, single farm, single field

So What Did We Think?

Kat: Kat is still suffering with cold symptoms so has not tasted these yet. We'll update the post as soon as she had gathered her thoughts

Dave: The nose opened up with some oak wood, it's spicy and has a dusty barley quality, like following the combine during harvesting. The honey and lemon notes are there again, but this  time more zesty. There's some soft apple and buttered shortbread and after a little longer in the glass it becomes more like a grassy summer field with lots of dandelion flowers. I had to dig deep to find the sweet vanilla notes of a soft fudge. This has a very interesting nose.

The palate gives honey with a squeeze of lemon, fresh barley, apples, crisp conference pears, and some faint vanilla notes. On my second sip and the sweet barley water is very clear, a peppery spice follows which fades becoming dry, almost nutty with some orange peel too, then right at the very end a touch of brine. The palate of this is just as interesting as the nose and I'm looking forward to crack the 2004 I have soon.

So what did everybody else think?
@LRWhisky: The nose is astounding. Bags of cereal and barley, topped off with orange peel and a dusting of cocoa
@LaCaveDeCobalt: Once again I got pears on the nose from this 2006 Islay Barley
@DramStats: Fingerprint of malted barley on a farm, green apple, custard creams, crumble topping again and a clotted cream note.
@champdenwhite: Gorse flowers and some heather. Intense but not heavy, a little honey and a little sea breeze with zesty lemon
@whiskytube: This is very grassy with a slight lemon sweetness coming through. Lovely fresh hot barley too!
@abbeywhisky: Taste: wow, big thick honey, lemon zest. Spice/pepper. Oak, vanilla. Fresh grass
@Little_Tipple: Great combination of both creamy chocolate and sweet orange on the palate, superbly complex!

Bruichladdich The Laddie 10 (46% abv)
Islay Single Malt Whisky
Circa £35.00 70 cl
The very first ten year old whisky to be wholly distilled, aged and bottled following Bruichladdich's resurrection in 2001. In many ways this marked the beginning of the new era.

I have tasted this before, after trading samples with fellow whisky enthusiast Dave Allcock, the Whisky Dramalista (@whiskyrepublic)

So What Did We Think?

Kat: Kat is still suffering with cold symptoms so has not tasted these yet. We'll update the post as soon as she had gathered her thoughts

Dave: I haven't looked back at my previous notes yet, but remember being impressed the first time I tasted this during a Skype whisky tasting with @whiskyrepublic

This time I was getting a struck match note at first, which was followed by some medicinal notes, Germolene, Deep Heat, and TCP. After a very short while it softens to be more like charred wood, and the smell of rain after a warm dry day, slowly sweetening the longer it's in the glass. Then it starts to become spicier with some salt marsh notes, a little earthy, brine and samphire and there was a light peat reek too. With water white pepper tickles the nose.

The palate started sweet, the struck match note from the nose is there, and I love it. There are notes of malted fruit loaf with lots of sultanas, some ginger comes across towards the end and there is a wisp of wood smoke, like well charred wood gently smouldering.

So what did everybody else think?
@whiskytube: The Laddie Ten has an almost tar like thickness on the nose. I can almost smell the viscosity
@abbeywhisky: A lot going on, but all quite light and rather hard to pin down. Slightly medicinal, getting lemon and ripe banana and honey
@TheWhiskyOracle: Light, Light, Light Hint of seaweed and coastal aromas
@petedrinks: Mellow; not so sweet as the previous two, hints of the sea, definite TCP, has me stood on a beach on Loch Indaal
@mattveira: It's weird, as this is an unpeated whisky.... but I smell it somewhere. Possibly from casks used to hold peated whisky?
@TheWhiskyWire: The first two things I picked up were varnish & brine. I like varnish & brine! 
@ifotou: Definitely has a peatyness to the palate with malt loaf and banana skin in there too, there's a sweet floral taste also.

Whisky Discovery #342

Bruichladdich Black Art 3 1989 22 Year Old (48.7% abv)
Islay Single Malt Whisky
Circa £95.00 70 cl

Our final dram was a little bit of a treat. This is the third release of the Bruichladdich Black Arts series.

So What Did We Think?

Kat: Kat is still suffering with cold symptoms so has not tasted these yet. We'll update the post as soon as she had gathered her thoughts

Dave: The darkest of the whiskies tasted this evening and the nose opened up with notes of Oloroso sherry, big red grapes, fresh if slightly over-ripe Victoria plums, very fruity. Fry's chocolate cream with a touch of mint, Balsamic vinegar, dark soy sauce, and some leather too.

The plums lead on the palate which are accompanied with some tinned peaches. It has the feel of a rich red Bordeaux and has some lovely aniseed notes coming through when swallowing which leaves a very dry Amontillado hazelnut finish, very drying with lots of tannins.

So what did everybody else think?
@DramStats: Raisins, oloroso, treacle, date crumble, touch of cough mixture
@WHISKYILEACH: Dried fruits, Oak wood spices, lots of sherry and christmas spices and apples
@abbeywhisky: Slight mint notes ? maraschino cherries. Nice Port notes
@sjoerd972: Port for sure, raisins, leather and furniture polish, dried prunes, mint, slightly salty, sticky toffee pudding, some white oak
@champdenwhite: even a touch of cigar box, once the sweet flavours abate. Are there Bordeaux casks at play?
@TimothyAlcock: Nose sherry, raisins, Jamaican rum, sultanas, yacht varnish, school hall floor, Christmas, marker pen, pipe tobacco
@rodbodtoo: balsamic, and leather, and old pipes, chocolate (a ganache, to be precise) endless red fruits

So what was my favourite? Again it is difficult to pick just one as all four are great drinkable whiskies. If I've got the money in my pocket and I have to buy one for my shelf, I think it will be the Laddie 10 for my first buy, but if it was a warm summers day I might easily have been persuaded to pick up The Organic.

As per previous Tweet Tastings there was a great deal of tweeting going on and to see what happened search on the #LaddieTT hashtag on twitter for the full story

Yet another great experience and another highlight of our whisky journey, with three new discoveries for me, and it was the first time Kat had tasted anything from the Bruichladdich range. Tweet Tastings really are a great way to taste whisky.

A massive THANK YOU to Steve Rush at @TheWhiskyWire, The Bruichladdich Distillery  @Bruichladdich for the exceedingly generous samples and for making sure we all got our drams and of course the tweet tasters.

This events tweet tasters were:
@TheWhiskyWire @Bruichladdich @abbeywhisky @WHISKYILEACH @ifotou @petedrinks @TimothyAlcock @DramStats @WhiskyDiscovery @LRWhisky @champdenwhite @WorldWhiskyDay @Smokiechops @rodbodtoo @Little_Tipple @mattveira @whiskytube @TheWhiskyOracle @caskfinishcom @sjoerd972 @LaCaveDeCobalt

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