Bruichladdich have released a new trio of whiskies they call ‘The Three Tens’ – three ten year old malts, an unpeated Bruichladdich, a peated Port Charlotte and a heavily peated Octomore. In this post, I review all three whiskies.
Octomore 10 year old
Distilled: 21 December 2005
Drawn: 31 October 2016
Made from barley which is dried with peat smoke, the spirit which is used to make this Octomore is among the world’s most heavily peated malts. This super peaty malt is then aged for 10 years in casks that previously held bourbon and Grenache Blanc.
To date, most Octomore whiskies have been aged in oak casks for about 5 or so years. This Octomore, however, is aged in oak for about double that amount of time – 10 years. A peaty malt which ages in oak casks will gradually lose its levels of peat the more it ages; the peat actually fades over time. In this older than usual Octomore, you can therefore expect a little less of the usual potent peet-reek and more oak influence from the bourbon and, perhaps more interestingly, Grenache Blanc casks.
The most interesting aspect of this Octomore is not more of the usual peat smoke, vanilla or Bruichladdich signature citrus and salinity, but the tropical fruit and stone/orchard fruit that seems to come from the Grenache Blanc casks. The fruit sweetens this coastal Islay monster, at least for a while.
Nose: Toasted fruit bread with melted butter and dried apples cut through a thick blanket of peat smoke. Under that blanket of phenols, there is sultana, ripe banana, lemon and lime peel, with vanilla. Curiously, Calvados comes to mind with each whiff of this Octomore, together with all sorts of fruits – white cherries, nectarines, and peaches.
Taste: First, there is sweet fruit such as dried apple, pear and peach with soft vanillas. Again, the taste of a dry Calvados comes to mind – apple and spicy French oak, and sultana, is most prominent. Then, this whisky’s character becomes more turbulent. The fruit sours, with flavours of green mango and some lime peel. Spices set in, with the taste of fiery pepper and salt. The oak grips the palate, adding dryness and tannins. All the while, peat smoke and burnt sugars sit over these flavours, and remain for a long, long, time.
Finish: Ash lingers, with loose tobacco, dried fig and burnt/caramelised sugars.
Port Charlotte 10 year old
Distilled: 30 August 2006
Drawn: 27 October 2016
This Port Charlotte 10 year old is made from peated malt (40 PPM) that has been aged in Bourbon, sherry, tempranillo and French wine casks.
Nose: Sweet and chocolaty, the aroma of vanilla, chocolate orange and Jaffas fill the glass and are met with smoke and soot. Citrus sits over juicy barley and caramels.
Taste: Sweetness, honeyed porridge, caramel and halva are soon interrupted by waves of smoke and peat. Nutella develops, then soot, salt and some orange.
Finish: Tarry, with tobacco and chocolate coated macadamia nuts.
The Laddie 10 year old
Distilled: 26 July 2006
Drawn: 27 October 2016
The Bruichladdich Laddie Ten (Limited Edition) is made from unpeated malt that has aged in first-fill Bourbon, sherry and French wine casks.
Nose: I pour this whisky into my glass, and the room suddenly smells of citrus marmalade. Raising the glass to my nose, there is plenty of lemon rind, orange peel, honey, oats and cereals. It is creamy, with plenty of vanilla and some chocolate. As my nose adjusts, the bouquet becomes richer and heavier. There are dates, raisins, and walnuts. The glass, once emptied, smells of rock salt and oyster shells.
Taste: There is a mix of dates, raisin and citrus peel, with honey, cardamom, wood smoke and the signature Bruichladdich salinity. I keep getting Arabic coffee and Italian hot chocolate, with some potpourri and rose Turkish delight.
Finish: The finish is spicy and tannic, with lingering candied ginger, sugared orange segments and fading wood smoke from the toasted oak.