Bruichladdich Octomore 7.2_208 5 years PPM 208 58.5%

Our Bruichladdich Peat Progression evening shifted from Port Charlotte to the mighty Octomore expression!

In this case from their travel retail line, matured in American oak casks and casks which previous held Syrah wine. I believe it was released late 2015 and picked it up in Singapore in 2016.

The whisky was sampled in three sessions:

  • Initially with the Whisky Ladies with a freshly opened bottle
  • Then a mini Whisky Ladies session with two who missed our main night
  • Followed by our original Mumbai tasting group who had all whiskies completely blind before the reveal

Bruichladdich Octomore 07.2_208 5 years PPM 208 58.5%

What did the Whisky Ladies think?

  • Nose
    • Waves of sweat peat, nutty chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg
    • Mild menthol, deceptive as the peat becomes quite restrained – almost minimalist, creamy, a bit antiseptic, sinus clearing like horseradish, dark chocolate, molasses
  • Palate
    • Incredibly smooth, remarkable how there can be so much peat swirling about and yet not a single harsh note, there is passion but… no rough jagged edges
    • Simply delicious! Chocolate, cinnamon, so smooth….
  • Finish – Lingers, long yet restrained – more like the echo of sweet peat

For the Whisky Ladies, I introduced Bruichladdich’s brand ambassador Murray’s “trick” to enjoying whisky in Asian heat… out came a few glasses filled to the brim with ice then topped up with water.

A few shots of ice cold water to cool the mouth and then a sip of Octomore – sublime! Silky smooth, gentles and smooths the peat without subduing the seductive quality – I do believe the expression “Sex on toast” was mentioned. It brought out ice cream, floral, prunes with the peat becoming quite shy – there but holding back.

And our original underground Mumbai whisky club?

  • Nose – Peaty, heather, honey sweetness, marigold flowers or nasturtiums, incense, pipe tobacco, after opening more green apples and pears, shifting between subtle peat, floral and fruity elements
  • Palate – Very sweet, so incredibly smooth, thick body, incredibly balanced with the smoke, sweet flower and fruit with a light salt coming together in harmony
  • Finish – Initially bitter, then sweet vanilla on the back of the tongue, shifting between leather and honey
  • After a shot of ice water – Red velvet, salty caramel, sweet spice

With the reveal, it was impossible to believe a peat level of PPM 208. If anything the Port Charlotte 12 seemed to have more of a peat swagger or ‘punch’ at a paultry PPM 40. There was no doubt this was a stellar whisky of exceptional craft. Just as it was no surprise we polished off the last drop!

For the original group, this whisky closed our evening. We reflected back on the range and could see a thread of bitter sweet common to all with each having depth and character. There was no doubt of the tremendous care and craft that went into each creation… and we found it overall very impressive.

And for the ladies? Our night was yet to close! We moved on to contrast the Octomore 07.2 with the 07.1…

What do the folks over at Bruichladdich have to say?

  • Character – Enigmatic. Defiant. Forget what you thought you knew.
  • Colour – Liquid gold.
  • Nose – Golden syrup, smoke and red berry fruits to begin. The gentle smoke weaves through poached pear and apple pie from the distillation with the ripe fruits from the cask, red berries peach and apricot. As you inhale deeper, delicate floral notes unclouded by the smoke are released heather, lilies and orange blossom.
  • Palate – The combination of sweet fruits and smoke is classic Octomore. Huge levels of peat sit in perfect balance with the flavours released from the cask. Add a drop or two of water and we get cherry, bramble, strawberry from the Syrah casks; cinder toffee, brown sugar, honey and crème brulee from the American oak burst through. You can feel and taste the rewards of our patience – slow trickle distillation provides the soft silky texture that coats your mouth and releases wave after wave of the soft fruit and floral fragrance.
  • Finish – As lemon zest, red fruit and vanilla oak fades away the deep smoke lingers, a potent reminder of the strength and character of Islay.
  • Mood – To be enjoyed in good company. Pour another dram. Everything else can wait….

Our Bruichladdich Peat Progression evenings also featured:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

A Bruichladdich Peat Progression…

This was an evening much awaited! Planned back in early 2016 initially for January 2017 then postponed to May 2017… To say I was rather impatient waiting for this session is a bit of an understatement!

Now normally, we prefer to keep our sampling to 3 whiskies… however the idea of sampling two unpeated, two peated and two super turbo peated from the same distillery was impossible to resist! Particularly if that distillery happened to be Bruichladdich.

Our Whisky Ladies are made of sterner stuff and have proven we are up to the challenge! Hence the ‘birth’ of the Bruichladdich “Peat Progression”  evening…

As all but the Classic Laddie and Octomore 7.1 were my bottles, I decided to share with our original underground group too – just to contrast and compare what the Whisky Ladies thought vs another Mumbai malt club!

Then one our ‘whisky mules’ made his way to India just in time to substitute The Laddie Eight for The Classic Laddie for the original club’s line up…

Which meant the Whisky Ladies experience was with freshly opened bottles (except the 7.1) whereas the original club’s sampling was from open bottles (except The Laddie Eight) – which does change the whisky as it starts to oxidate even with a ‘vacu-vin’ trick to slow down the process.

Added to the mix was a follow-up tasting with two Whisky Ladies who could not make it to the main event but were not willing to be left behind our whisky adventures!

The tasting notes tell you as much about the whisky tasting sessions as they do about the whisky itself!!

Other Bruichladdich’s sampled include:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Ardbeg Supernova 55% (2014)

Ardbeg is known for an experiment or two. From sending whisky molecules into space to pushing the boundaries of peat in whisky, the folks over at Ardbeg are determined this distillery will not disappear anytime soon!

Their Supernova releases are intended to be the peatiest Ardbeg ever… Now with 5 editions, the 2014 avatar currently retails for over $400.

Thanks to the Winnipeg Cabinet lads, I not only enjoyed  a fabulous “peat” evening, I also walked out with a wee dram of this Ardbeg Supernova! (Pssst – you can read their review here which featured a new & old 10 year Ardbeg, Supernova & Amrut.)

Ardbeg Supernova

This puppy cranks the peat up from 55 ppm to 100 ppm, so without even opening or taking a whiff, I knew this was going to have serious peat.

Ardbeg Supernova 55%

  • Nose – As expected – powerful peat! Carbon. Yet also decidedly sweet, pine, minty herbal element, a whack of spice, zing of citrus, bit briney… yet never loosing that charred pettiness
  • Palate – Peat, char, burn, crazy bitter chocolate, dark cherry, you could chomp and chew on this one!
  • Finish – Long, bitter and dry ash…. those peaty fires kept smouldering
  • Water – Had to try… a bit more accessible yet still…

This is no shy retiring young miss. No siree! As promised, it is big, bold and full-on peat. While it is quite assertive, it isn’t harsh – a plus point.

However I found myself reaching out for a dry cracker and gave it some time.

More importantly, as a whisky, did it work?

Hmm… While interesting, the elements simply did not come together for me. Even with a few drops of water, there was something just a wee bit off-balance about this one.

It is a novelty item not an every day dram. While I’m glad I had a chance to try it (and not pay for it), I honestly would reach for other peaty drams before this one.

Here’s what the folks at Ardbeg have to say (from Whisky Exchange website):

  • Aroma: Intense zestiness of smoked lemons and pears, lemongrass and pine needles, embedded in a deep, resinuous, sticky waxy base.
  • Taste: Distinctively peppery, spicy and electric. Powerful peppermint, antiseptic lozenges and other familiar, medicinal tones. Dark, dark birch tar intermingles with spicy-sweet chilli flavoured chocolate, while the entire mouth and palate are coated in luscious linseed oil.
  • Finish: Rich flavours of tar, creosote, briar wood, spicy tobacco and liquorice root.

PS I recently pulled out the last few drops of the Ardbeg Supernova next to Bruichladdich’s Octomore with a peaty lady asking which she would like to help me polish off. Without hesitation she went straight to the Octomore – which has even higher peat levels than the Supernova yet better balance and somehow more accessible and hence also enjoyable.

Other Ardbeg‘s sampled include:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Bruichladdich Octomore 5_169 59.5%

Next up in the Bruichladdich explorations after the Organic and PC Scottish Barley, was an Octomore! Again, compliments of the Canadian sampling stash from my aunt and uncle.

In a slick black bottle, Bruichladdich Octomore is high octane heavy peat… as in hold on to your hats folks, we’ve got peat, peat and peat!!

Pronounced Ochdamh-mor, it is unabashed but also surprising. The 169 on the label refers to is being a whopping 169 ppm. From 2012, bottled at cask strength, this five-year old packs a punch.

Octmore

Here goes for the Octomore 5 year 169 ppm 59.5%

  • Nose – Good morning! Afternoon! Evening and Night Peat! Iodine, peat, sea salt, nougat, sunshine flowers, then a nutty fruity sweetness pushes through
  • Taste – Well hello peat, again that sweetness, then a spicy burn… some cinnamon and citrus fruits
  • Finish – A burst of citrusy spice, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and more! And yes… peat…
  • Water – Twice I sampled this and both times… my glass was empty before I even managed to add a drop or two!

It is surprisingly well balanced for something so heavily peated. It isn’t an everyday dram however I found myself simply sipping and enjoying more than analysing and distilling its character – a sure sign that on an unconscious level this whisky works!

Here’s what the producers have to say about this Octomore:

  • Colour: Cadmium yellow/ jasmine
  • Nose: Blazing peat fires send sparks of joy onto the unsuspecting olfactory system captivating and ravishing the senses which have never had such natural pleasure. Now they are aroused, thrilled, stimulated and in awe of the strength and youth of the spirit. The barley is shimmering, the oak mellowing, the fruits bursting, the Atlantic squalls detonating. The peat smoke smouldering, the sea mists swirling, the heathland hedonistic; welcome to the aromatic world of the hand made, heavy peated, slow distilled, maritime matured single malt.
  • Palate: The texture of the spirit is endless, super smooth. On entry it is absolutely sensational; it’s like “Wow”! Don’t worry you’re going to be ok, I promise – the initial palate presence is one of juniper oil, peat smoked barley, salted biscuits, light iodine, crushed cinnamon, then on the second phase the citrus flavours of grapefruit, tangerine, honeyed lemon together with the sweetness of pear & pineapple add a whole new dimension to the complexity of the spirit. The fruits balance the marine notes; the oaky nutty ginger flavours combat the peat and the citrus helps cool the heat of the fire. Perfect balance.
  • Finish: The heat from the peat embers will warm the soul into the wee small hours and as you awaken next morning your senses will ask: “Did that really happen?”, hoping with all your heart that it will happen again.
  • Mood: Close your eyes as you inhale, you will be spiritually transported to the island of great distillers, with a terroir unique and natural where the never-ending call of the sea is the anthem of the Ileach.
Well… that’s quite the description! Leave aside the overly enthusiastic elements, it is indeed on track for what I found.
Here’s what others have to say:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Whisky samples – the Canadian ‘score’

During my June – July 2015 trip to Canada, my ever so amazing aunt and generous uncle decided to indulge their niece in a shared passion – whisky tasting.

I’m a novice next to them. They’ve had a successful whisky tasting club in their home town of Fort Frances, Ontario for years now… As in approximately 15 years.

And lucky me – they cracked open their collection to bring me a few samples! Here is a glimpse into this fabulous ‘goodie pack’:

It is quite the collection of baby jar whisky samples… just check these beauties out!

Canadian stash

Pssst… a year later, I managed to acquire another Canadian score!

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on: