Port Charlotte MP5 10 year Virgin Oak Cask #005 63.5%

Last in our Port Charlotte cask evening was one that stumped our entire group. We sampled it blind, with no clue beyond everyone knowing the whiskies sampled that evening were from the same distillery, similar age, barley, peat level yet matured in different casks.

What did we find?

Port Charlotte MP5 10 year (2005/2016) Virgin Oak Cask #005 63.5%

  • Colour – Dark amber
  • Nose – Dark chocolate, cinnamon spice, raisins, prunes, apricot, such fruity sweet, almost sweet wine-like, shifting from dark to white chocolate nougat, vanilla, cappuccino, marmalade, walnut, not a hint of peat… then after some time, became almost meaty with a subtle ash and… believe it or not… bubblegum! After even more time… was that lemon custard? Or coconut cream pie?
  • Palate – Spice, even more than the others this one was sooooooo sweet! Then a roaring spice behind the sweet which eased into a ginger spice, followed by salt, roasted coffee bean and a gentle peat, with wonderful oils
  • Finish – Lovely
  • Water – Needs a splash of water – then it becomes juicy, fruity and simply fabulous!

For some, this was the favourite or runner up of the night!

There was something so completely appealing about the complexity of the aromas and, once water was added, it was absolutely wonderful on the palate. There was a lovely balance between the fruits, chocolate and light peat… which initially had a ‘barely there’ quality but revealed itself after adding water.

And our cask speculation?

After tossing out possibilities from rum to muscatel to sherry PX, most settled on Port thanks to its rich sweet character. No one even came close to guessing French virgin oak.

With the reveal, everyone was stunned!

On two counts…

  • First, did it really get all these elements from virgin oak?
  • And second, while it really came into its own with water, how could it be 63.5% after 10 years!

For both… there was more to the story which can be found in the MP5 broadcast with Adam and Allan.

Let’s start with the alcohol strength…

63.5% seems nearly impossible for 10 years until you consider the approach taken at Bruichladdich. Unlike other distillers that first add water to their new make spirit to bring it to a uniform 63.5% before maturing, Bruichladdich puts it into the cask at the full force of a true cask strength which is closer to 70%.

And what about the cask?

They shared that after nearly 10 years in an ex-bourbon cask, it was finished for 6 months in a French virgin oak with a medium char from Seguin Moreau cooperage which held nothing before… they credited the virgin oak for providing the depth of colour to the whisky.

An interesting twist… all we know is that we really enjoyed the results!

What more do we know from the bottle?

  • Barley type: Optic
  • Distilled: 30.11.2005
  • Bottled: 2016 – Aged 10 years
  • Cask Type: Virgin Oak
  • Warehouse: P4. L8 – Dunnage

I purchased this set at The Single Cask in Singapore and we opened the bottles in August 2018 in Mumbai.

Port Charlotte MP5 Single Casks:

We also started our evening comparing casks with a Port Charlotte 8 year Cognac Cask 57.8%.

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Port Charlotte MP5 10 year Bourbon/Bordeaux Cask #0013 59.9%

One of the ‘traditions’ of our original whisky group is to taste blind… In this case, I gave a bit of a twist by openly sharing we were sampling whiskies from the same distillery, peated at the same level and nearly the same age with the only difference the cask.

My goal was to eliminate wild speculations to instead focus on the narrow range of variable – cask. With the reveal made only after we tasted each whisky separately and then compared them to each other, sharing thoughts on the possible cask(s) used.

We began with the Cognac cask – while not part of the MP5 series – I chose it to calibrate the palate. We then moved on to the Bourbon cask, then this one… which added a Bordeaux finish.

What did we think?

Port Charlotte MP5 10 year (2005/2016) Bourbon/Bordeaux Cask #0013 59.9%

  • Colour – A clear touch of red – which we later found clearly came from the Bordeaux cask finish
  • Nose – Initially greeted with curd and tobacco, quite strongly spirit driven, some sulfur – like we just set off some crackers ‘patakar!’, then settled down with less peat, revealing chocolate, and a range of aromas that went from wine to sweet and salty dried fruits, pistachios and raisins
  • Palate – Very spicy at first, with an interesting over brewed tea quality, like tannins from red wine, sweet with an interesting spice, shifting into raspberries and walnuts
  • Finish – A long finish with a strong peppery close
  • Water – Initially made it spicier then really opened up with many finding it quite fabulous once opened up with a splash of water

While we found this one a bit thin on the palate, lacking the body of the MP5 Bourbon, it had quite a distinctive and appealing quality. We also found it less salty than the 1st with almost negligible peat.

For one, he confessed that if he wasn’t already told this was a peaty Islay whisky, he never would have guessed. We wanted to know how that could possibly be the case – given similar ppm from other distilleries retain a much more pronounced peat.

The answer in part can be found in the Laddie MP5 broadcast in which the head distiller Adam Hannett speaks with Allen Logan, distillery manager.

Around the 20 min mark, they shared how their PC style is to always start at 40 phenolic parts per million (PPM). However the phenol content changes as it is mashed, malted and further softened through the slow distilling process. The shape of the still is another factor, which enables lighter flavours to come through. Then, as the spirit ages, it loses more phenols…

The result? You end up with considerably less ppm than you started with… And for Port Charlotte (PC) specifically, it means the whisky is surprisingly versatile with different cask types, particularly if it is aged for a longer period.

Yet without this insight or knowledge of the re-casting, what did our merry malters think?

After much speculation, most votes veered to sherry with one clear it could not be sherry as it had a wine quality. Clearly this taster was exceedingly close!

What Adam shared in the broadcast is this whisky began in an ex-Bourbon cask for 10 years then was finished for 9 months in the fresh Bordeaux cask from the town of Margeaux.

When asked why they recast the spirit, the answer was:

“We wanted to see what else we could explore, do and try new things.”

In part this was motivated by a recognition the whisky needed an extra ‘boost’ from re-casking.

And when the topic of the wine cask finish arose, Allen spoke of their early experiments with finishing 15 and 20 year stock using ex-Bordeaux casks, which turned the whisky pink after only a short period of time! What to do? Jim McEwan suggested releasing the whisky as a special edition for Valentine’s Day, what else?

As for this whisky? I revisited it the next evening and found the wine element unmistakable… and think we underestimated it in our first foray. Or perhaps with just a little oxidation, it revealed its balanced complex character. Superb!

What more do we know?

  • Barley type: Optic
  • Distilled: 29.11.2005
  • Bottled: 2016 – Aged 10 years
  • Cask Type: Bourbon / Bordeaux
  • Warehouse: WH5. L2 – Dunnage

I purchased this 200ml tasting set trio for an embarrassingly high amount from The Single Cask in Singapore.

Port Charlotte MP5 Single Casks:

Before we tasted the MP5 series, I opened a Port Charlotte 8 year Cognac Cask 57.8% to help calibrate our palate to the Port Charlotte style.
You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Port Charlotte MP5 10 year Fresh Bourbon Cask #1999 56.9%

For over a year, I waited impatiently to dive into this Bruichladdich Micro-Provenance aka MP5 trio!

I came across the set in Singapore at The Single Cask. taking a good long whiff of their open bottles and was intrigued. I kept thinking about them… and on my next visit, I was delighted they still had a closed set remaining. So I packed it up and brought it back to Mumbai for our merry malters!

I decided to do it in the same order Adam and Allan did on their YouTube broadcast… so we began with the ex-bourbon. While I knew what we were sampling, my fellow whisky explorers tried it blind.

Port Charlotte MP5 10 year (2005/2016) Fresh Bourbon Cask #1999 56.9%

  • Colour – Bright straw
  • Nose – Bounty chocolate with roasted coconut, tropical fruits – particularly pineapple, cashew fruit when nearly ripe, subtle peat, ripe bananas, dates, lightly leather and wood polish, faint iodine then evolved into a fresh clean delicate citrus
  • Palate – Spicy cinnamon, jute kopra, coconut barfi, lightly oily, a wonderful mouth feel, coffee, coconut shell
  • Finish – Medium length, a bit bitter, chillies, coconut
  • Water – Opened up beautifully, lovely balance of spice then sweet, delicious with a gentle orange citrus

We loved it! It began as a pure tropical treat and evolved into creme brule, bubblegum… We really enjoyed this whisky And found it was a fabulous easy drinking dram. It had a lovely balance, very tasty, becoming even more enjoyable as it opened further with water and had a little more time sitting in the glass.

Remarkably, there was very little peat – just a light leather curl of smoke enveloped in creamy sweet goodness. Equally no one came even close to predicting the alcohol strength – there was talk of 46% or 48% with no one imagining 56.9%!

I challenged my tasting cohorts to give their best guesses on what cask(s) went into creating this dram. After the Cognac surprise, speculation ranged from rum to virgin oak to bourbon… with the last spot on!

What more do we know?

  • PPM: 40
  • Barley type: Optic
  • Distilled: 17.11.2005
  • Bottled: 2016 – Aged 10 years
  • Cask Type: Fresh Bourbon
  • Warehouse: P2. R19 – Dunnage

We loved this whisky and wished there was more! By the end of the evening there were just a few drops remaining… clearly a good sign.

Port Charlotte MP5 Single Casks:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte MP5

The whole idea behind Bruichladdich’s Micro-Provenance (or MP) series is to demonstrate the difference to be found between casks when starting at approximately the same place. Through this journey, one can explore the evolution of a single malt, comparing and contrasting…

For #LaddieMP5, head distiller Adam Hannett selected three single casks of Port Charlotte whisky:

  • All starting at the same peat level – 40 ppm
  • Using the same barley type – Optic
  • Distilled within 2 weeks of each other in November 2005
  • Then matured for 10 years…. just in different casks…

The result was a fascinating experiment and experience enjoyed by our original Mumbai whisky tasting group late August 2018.

Port Charlotte MP5 Single Casks Trio: 

I asked the Comms team for more info and they said the best thing to do is to watch the MP5 broadcast where Adam and Allan talked through the whiskies – well worth watching!

To get us in the mood for peaty full cask strength drams, I also opened up another bottle of Port Charlotte to help calibrate our palates. The whisky I selected for this purpose was:

Tasting notes will be available over the next few days….

Curious about other Bruichladdich Port Charlotte tasting experiences?

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Bruichladdich Octomore 07.1_208 5 years 59.5%

For the Whisky Ladies, our Bruichladdich Peat Progression evening closed with a second mighty Octomore expression! In this case, the Octomore 7.1… released in 2015 before the 7.2 travel edition and one of the last Jim McEwan expressions.

What did the Whisky Ladies think?

Bruichladdich Octomore 07.1_208 5 years PPM 208 Scottish Barley 59.5%

  • Nose – Leather, eucalyptus, pine cleaner, sweet cinnamon and a dash of pepper
  • Palate – Chewy tobacco, bitter chocolate, still has that trademark power peat with no harshness and surprising balance unique to Octomore given the whopping 208 PPM, however more like bitter kerela than fruity sweet, a bit of baked goods, toffee
  • Finish – It does indeed last, with a chaser that is almost like bitter tea and basil

As it followed the 7.2, it was hard not to compare… we found it did not have quite as many elements, and curiously more academic than the artistic flourish of the 7.2, certainly not as complex and yet though it had a little less polish it was still a compellingly good dram.

I suspect if sampled solo, we would have thought it quite fabulous however the combination of polished peat and silky sweet in the 7.2 was a hard act to follow.

I would consider the 7.1 like autumn following the sunshine summer of the 7.2. Both unique in their way.

What do the folks over at Bruichladdich have to say?

  • Character – Sweet and gentle belying an awesome power and hidden depths
  • Colour – Summer sun on Hebridean sand
  • Nose – Initially the nose is sea spray and caramel, lemon balm and pipe tobacco. Slowly, the peat smoke rises from the glass, gentle but strong lifting vanilla, mint, toffee, golden syrup and almond. Peach follows with pear syrup and buttercup. A symphony, a delight to experience.
  • Palate – Wow! Smoothness, sweetness and then smoke. A texture like no other, satin soft and devilishly warming. The American oak influence is in perfect tune with the smoke and soft fruits delicately, skilfully coaxed from the still during exceptionally slow distillation. Vanilla, honey, citrus rise up to be met with sea spray and leather, smoked mussels mix with autumn bracken and crème brûlée.
  • Finish – As the sweetness from the oak fades the salt comes to the fore one last time while the gentle peat smoke steady and true grows and outlasts all else.
  • Mood – The feeling is that of long summer nights turning cooler and shorter as autumn approaches. Watch the sun set over the sea and breathe the peat smoke hanging in the air.

Our Bruichladdich Peat Progression evenings also featured:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

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:

Bruichladdich PC 12 Oileanach Furachail 58.7%

Next in our Bruichladdich Peat Progression evening was another bolder peatier Port Charlotte offering with the PC 12 Oileanach Furachail…. peated to 40 PPM and bottled 21 July 2015.

It was sampled in three sessions – initially with the Whisky Ladies then a mini session with two ladies who missed the main evening, followed by our original Mumbai tasting group who had all whiskies completely blind before the reveal.

PC 12 Oileanach Furachail 58.7%

What did the Whisky Ladies think?

  • Nose
    • Much more complex than the CC:01, bursting with character, musty, old leather shoes, yet beyond the tobacco factory was lily
    • Sour, leather, betel nut leaf, old leather polish, black sour cherry, a mechanics garage, quite industrial, then becomes sweet with vanilla, then black peppercorn
  • Palate
    • Super amazingly smooth, well rounded, much more subtle on the palate than one would have anticipated from the nose, absolutely delicious – think spicy smoked chickpeas, dark berries, clove encrusted oranges
    • Musty, sweet, round without a single harsh edge – a contrast from the industrial nose, black pepper, clearly ‘peat’ yet a ‘collaborative peat’ that marries well with the other elements
  • Finish
    • The aftertaste has subtle bitter chocolate with absolutely no burn
    • Long drawn out finish – like having a chunk of spicy red chilli, invites you to introspect
  • Water
    • Bringing out a vegetal quality – think celery root. Not unpleasant but a tinge harsh initially before opening up. Some thought under no circumstances should water be added. Others thought it brought out more…
    • Became initially quite floral on the nose, with fruit, tobacco, a dried potpourri, almost too much spice on the palate til it settles down…

Absolutely beautiful to drink. The palate is truly superb. It is not your standard whisky on the nose – one called it “Stinky feet on the nose but when sipping… I absolutely love it!”

The ladies thought it to be an after dinner whisky, a sociable dram to enjoy with old friends. Without a doubt – this was clearly a “hit!” for many ladies.

Our original underground Mumbai whisky club found the following:

  • Nose – Burnt rubber, sweaty socks, lemon citrus, rotting fruit, car manufacturing unit, fresh leather, burnt dry wood, then apricot… after airing for much longer it was remarkable how the peat settled down and the fruitiness became much more apparent with a chaser of nuts
  • Palate – Starts sweet, then flat, clearly high on spirit, some speculated if there might be a hint of sherry as it had chewy dark berries and slight prune
  • Finish – Bitter cinnamon spice, dum biryani
  • Water – For some, they found it helped bring out a more sophisticated side to this whisky – revealing more complex elements. For others they found it made it more ‘singular’ in an interesting way but with less complexity. One shared that with water it goes from “lust to love”

For the original group, this one was much more industrial. While quite interesting, we had become ‘tuned’ to the sophisticated nuance of the CC:01 that curled around the Port Charlotte character. By contrast the Oileanach Furachail swaggered about with much more ‘in your face’ qualities. With the reveal, we were surprised at how little peat there is compared to its bold peaty character!

What do the folks over at Bruichladdich have to say?

Adam Hannett has been working alongside Jim McEwan since 2006, watching and learning from the legendary distiller. Adam has a special talent, a perceptive nose and a rare ability to analyse and objectify sensory experience. One day the ultimate responsibility for this precious spirit will rest on his shoulders. Here we acknowledge Adam and his ongoing journey with Jim. “Oileanach furachail”.

  • Character – A heavyweight Islay – rich, smokey and smooth.
  • Colour – Polished walnut in an autumn sunset.
  • Nose – Opens with bursts of smoke, salt and dark fruit then develops raisins, toffee, sweet oak and ripe plum. Hints of cinnamon spice, polish, candied orange and lemon peels. hazelnut and dates.
  • Palate – Rich and succulent in texture bringing harmony to a spirit of 58.7%. Sherry flavours of date and fig combine with peat smoke to balance honey, lemon and hot toasted oak. Apricot pear and green apple are subtle but the character of our pure spirit cannot be hidden. There have been no shortcuts to get here. Long years in our warehouses on the shores of Loch Indaal have brought out the exceptional qualities of casks sourced from far and wide. Combine this with the influence of fresh salty Islay air and you have a dram of unmistakable character.
  • Finish -You may think it will never end as the smoke lingers releasing touches of liquorice, date and sweet malt. Close your eyes and you are on Islay. As this dram fades you can reflect on another step of your journey and look forward with confidence as there are many more to come.
  • Mood – To be enjoyed when there is time to relax. Throw a few more peats on the fire and settle back in contemplation.

Our Bruichladdich Peat Progression evenings also featured:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2008 50%

For the Whisky Ladies, next up in tour Bruichladdich Peat Progression evening was the Bere Barley 2008.

This is an unpeated whisky made from bere barley – an ancient Orkney barley that grows quickly despite the cool climate, with long straw, producing “desperately low yields – 50% less than a modern crop.

It is Bruichladdich’s 3rd Bere Barley edition from the 2007 crop, harvested from the Weyland & Watersfield, Duncan Cromarty at Richmond Villa on South Ronaldsay, Keith Hourston at Skilbister in Orphir and Magnus Spence from the Northfiled Farms on Murray. The whisky was distilled in February 2008 and bottled in November 2014.

What did the Whisky Ladies think of the Bere Barley 2008 50%?

  • Nose – Sweet cammomile, lavender, very subtle, a bit rustic with a hint of oak, organic wheat and wet hay, curd that became ‘creamier’ as it opened
  • Palate – Initially a bit strong with a spicy tingle and slight raw quality, quite malty, then becomes quite smooth with a citrus twist and subtle saltiness, like the hint of a salty crust on a fresh french baguette, a drizzle of honey, becoming increasingly sweet – almost sugar cane sweet – chased by black peppercorns
  • Finish – Initially a bit of a raw burn then as it settles in, becomes quite sweet, fresh and clean… however as we continued to sip, the finish became increasingly bitter with a burnt caramel quality
  • Water – A must for this whisky! “Now I like it!” It brings out meadow flowers, a sunshine summer quality on the nose with a hint of eucalyptus, becomes quite smooth on the palate with a lovely spice finish

We found this whisky a bit deceptive… even without water, it begins to grow on you and you can’t help but find yourself continuing to sip… even the rustic quality becomes like a worn familiar friend.

Then when water is added it changes from “wallflower to belle of the ball!” taking on both a silky smoothness, more substance in a delicious package. Clearly one where a bit of water to open up transforms!

What do the folks over at Bruichladdich have to say?

  • Character – Elegant and sophisticated. The spirit is deceptively light concealing a depth of flavour rarely found.
  • Colour – Straw yellow.
  • Nose – Instantly floral. Delicate but powerful. Honeysuckle, yellow gorse and heather rise from the glass coaxed by a splash of spring water. As you inhale, the ancient grain surrenders malt sweetness fused with cooked apple and ripe rear, all this swathed in rich oak offering vanilla, heather honey and lemon zest. Displaying the skill of slow distillation and craftsmanship that created it this single malt is harmonious in its complexity.
  • Palate – The texture is that of honey, smooth and suave. Vanilla, brown sugar and zesty citrus stand tall as gentle waves of soft fruit apricot and peach are driven on by a Hebridean breeze filled with the scents of summer. Like a receding wave washes the sand clean your palate is refreshed by a spirit that is gentle and powerful, young and yet knowing.
  • Finish – Sweet soft and floral, continually pulling you in to release its secrets, to touch this single malt to your lips is a beguiling experience long remembered. A superior spirit skilfully created that has age beyond its years.
  • Mood – Enigmatic. Open yet secretive.

Our Bruichladdich Peat Progression evenings also featured:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Bruichladdich The Laddie Eight 50%

For our original tasting group, we kicked off our Bruichladdich Peat Progress evening with The Laddie Eight. We tasted blind, with the reveal only after all were sampled.. enabling us to focus only on what we were sampling.

What did the original group think of the The Laddie Eight 50%?

  • Nose – A sweet beginning, lemon citrus, blue cheese, a little sharp then became creamy, hay and grains, oily, complex yet fresh, a fruit basket then soft vanilla, then perfume, flower honey, mint chocolate, basil… from herbs to light salty baguette
  • Palate – Sweet tangy salty spice, very clean and fresh, bringing together all the aromas in a way that initially seemed very light yet as you kept sipping, revealed substance and depth too
  • Finish – Initially bitter, for some they thought it ‘short yet fulfilling’ then realized an echo remained and remained and remained…

The most remarkable feature was how the nose slowly unfolded… we took our time to wrap our senses around all the different elements… it was a wonderful whisky to ease our way into our evening… sniffing and discussing as we watched the sun set over the Arabian sea.

We also found this was one of the rare whiskies where the promise on the nose completely carried through on the palate. Those citrus, fruity, lightly floral aromas continued in a fresh way – like spring time yet with a solid base.

We set this whisky aside, covered, and returned to find the glass sweaty with condensation. Opening after initially a waft of sour curd, it revealed sweet jaggery, green apples and pears, grated fresh coconut, old fruits… completely delightful! We came back to it even later and discovered over ripe bananas… clearly a whisky to sip and enjoy at a leisurely pace.

One remarked it was like what they would imagine an unpeated Kilchoman could possibly taste like – a clear compliment as it came from a huge Kilchoman fan!

While it was not possible to side-by-side compare The Classic Laddie with The Laddie Eight – both had a vibrant freshness, completely approachable, neither gave a hint of being 50% and most important – either would be welcome anytime.

What do the folks over at Bruichladdich have to say?

  • Character – An elegant expression of Bruichladdich style. Super fruity and full of Atlantic freshness.
  • Colour – Lemon marmalade.
  • Nose – The opening notes are of fresh fruit, typical apple and pear slightly under ripe so characteristic of our spirit. Then pear drops apricot and pineapple in fruit syrup rise in the next wave. Vanilla oak is not far behind rolled in malted barley sugar and with a hint of straw. After a moment of warming the glass in your hand the floral tones of gorse and honeysuckle come through. The longer the whisky has to breathe the more you will find on the nose.
  • Palate – Spice gives way to sweetness as a pepperiness on the lips becomes mango and peach. Layer upon layer of oak from the variation of casks used to create this dram gives vanilla, lemon, honey, toffee and a creamy buttery texture and mouth feel. A second taste will bring hints of fruit, raspberry and strawberry for sure and a touch of citrus and orange marmalade. the complexity is a joy to taste as each style of toasting or charring of the barrels plays its part in bringing a depth of flavour you will be eager to explore. This dram has vitality, depth and mellow-ness all at once as the classic Bruichladdich DNA of soft fruit and floral elegance mix with exotic fruit from such a variety of amazing oak. The quality of our Scottish malted barley is evident as the sweet malt sugar holds all the fruit and oak together in wondrous harmony.
  • Finish – Fresh sea breeze, sweet floral heather honey and citrus bring this dram to a close, but like a typical island good-bye it’s not cheerio straight away, there is still a word or two to be had as the finish extends into the night with a long lasting vanilla note that doesn’t seem to end.

Our Bruichladdich Peat Progression evenings also featured:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie 50%

With a wee debate between our Whisky Ladies host and I, we decided to start our Bruichladdich Peat Progression evening with the Classic Laddie. We were both familiar with this whisky and thought it a rather enjoyable way to kick off our evening!

What did the Whisky Ladies think?

The Classic Laddie 50%

  • Nose – Fresh grass, wild flowers, light honey, sweet green grape, a light liquorice, freshly desiccated coconut, some sweet vanilla, sweet citrus zest
  • Palate – Light spice of the Christmas sweet spices variety but with a light touch, a sense of being quite ‘crisp’ fresh and inviting
  • Finish – Very warm and sweet
  • Water – Brings out more of the malt, sweeter, some found it became a bit bolder, greater focus whereas for others adding a few drops did very little to change its character

What was interesting is that it smells lighter than it tastes – one described it as being like having a ‘Hot rum toddy without the rum!’

Overall it was simply a terrific start to our evening and clearly one of those whiskies that is far too easy to drink.

Would we consider it a classic? Yes! And the kind of whisky you want to keep in your cabinet to bring out for a social evening with friends who appreciate a good dram. A nice sunshine summer dram!

What do the folks over at Bruichladdich have to say?

  • Character – Smooth as pebbles in a pool. It’s clean, fresh and lively with both the oak and the grain in perfect harmony.
  • Colour – Sunlight on fields of early summer barley
  • Nose – The bouquet is brilliant. Opening with barley sugar and a hint of mint before leading into the most wonderful notes of freshly cut wild flowers; buttercup, daisy, meadowsweet, myrtle, primrose and cherry blossom. The cleanliness of the spirit is remarkable. As the seconds tick by, more aromas rise from the glass, little zephyrs of spindrift and sea pinks reminding you that this spirit is matured exclusively by the sea. After some four or five minutes and with the addition of a little water, caramelisd fruits drift onto the scene; lemon drops and honey, tangerine and tablet
  • Palate – The palate entry is so refined and refreshing, the sweet oak and the barley arriving together sending the taste buds into raptures. The fruits from distillation drift in on an Atlantic breeze and pop on the tongue like champagne bubbles. A combination of ripe green fruit, brown sugar and sweet malt bring closure. A taste back in time, a realisation that not all single malts are equal and to achieve the absolute optimum, you must use barley that is made in Scotland. Make this one the benchmark for all others you meet on your journey through the stills of Scotland.
  • Finish – Unforgettable! Its best enjoyed in good company, you just don’t want the evening to end. It brings warmth to the heart and soul. The clock slows down and the cares of tomorrow disappear into the dawn. .
  • Mood – Conviviality! Relaxed, enjoying the spirit in the glass and the laughter from tales often told but never tired of hearing.

Our Bruichladdich Peat Progression evenings also featured:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on: