Sunday, 25 May 2014

Three peated Bruichladdichs

Recently I sat with a few very similar drams from Bruichladdich to do a casual comparison of them. These were 127.33 "Mouth-numbing mountaineering dram", a 11 year old Port Charlotte from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society; PL2, a no age statement Port Charlotte from the Elements of Islay range; and Octomore 6.1 Scottish Barley, a 5 year old heavily peated Bruichladdich.

Distillery: Port Charlotte (Bruichladdich)
Bottling: Elements of Islay
Age: NAS
Strength: 63.4%.

Nose: Light and mildly fruity, with citrus and lemon but lemon bathroom cleaner. Some unripe banana which hints are some fairly young malt in this. Light vanilla sponge cake. The carbolic notes are less than I have seen in other expressions, with the peat being exposed in more earthy farm notes which are again not uncommon in various laddie releases. There is also that sweaty sock element, which although sounds bad, is more like a good cheese. Leather couches in a freshly polished room. This has a maybe too raw and young feel which is slightly out of balance, and is the most spirity of them all.

Palate: Sharp with some sour fruit. Young malty elements and a rugged earthiness. Water drowns this a little and doesn't seem to add much to it.

Finish: Sharp oak, and some dry apple. Finish itself in general is pretty dry, and although it is fairly long the flavour dissipates before the spirit burn leaving the end of the finish unsatisfactory.

Notes: This was a little unbalanced and a little too raw.

Distillery: Port Charlotte (Bruichladdich)
Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 11
Distilled: 2002
Bottled: 2013
Strength: 63.5%.
Cask Code: 127.33 Mouth-numbing mountaineering dram
Cask Type: Refill Barrel, ex-bourbon.

Nose: A lot sweeter than the PL2 with banana, pear but also some richer red fruits such as strawberry. Boot polish, and getting a little savoury with Cajun spiced meat. Lots of vanilla and coconut and the wood isn't as sharp as the PL2 and in general the nose is a lot more rounded. That cheesy note is still prominent. Honey, crunchie bars (honeycomb) and a touch feinty.

Palate: Creamy, totally carbolic, very fizzy with sherbet. White coffee and citrus fruits. Water brings out more of the earthiness and some wax.

Finish: Long and leathery. Coal tar and liquorice.

Notes: Better than the PL2 but maybe a touch unbalanced still. While I love these SMWS Port Charlottes, the best and more balanced ones to me are the ones which are coming from sherry butt maturation which lends just that little extra sweetness and richness to the raw earthiness which is dominant in these.

Distillery: Octomore (Bruichladdich)
Bottling: Distillery Bottling
Age: 5
Distilled: 2008
Bottled: 2013
Strength: 57.0%.

Nose: Raspberries, elderflower. Pineapple and grapefruit tartness. coal sheds, vanilla, bounty bars, fishing nets, menthol cigarettes, medicated shampoo, sweet marzipan, sugar coated almonds, woody notes but like fresh timber rather than old oak. A little of that rawness which was in the PL2 but missing in the 127.33 is back again. Less creamy the 127.33 but also much more malty.

Palate: Sweet and creamy. Malted milk biscuits. Trifle and tinned fruit in syrup.

Finish: Long and malty, young and raw but no overpowering spirit. The pineapple and grapefruit again, topped with vanilla ice cream.

Notes: A lot more complex than the other two and you can tell it has been put together well. Surprisingly it doesn't seem that peated though given the pre-distillation phenol level.