14th April 2016 – #WhiskyEx
Time for another Tweet Tasting, this time with World Duty Free (@WorldDutyFree) with a couple of cracking selections from Bruichladdich (@Bruichladdich) with a Port Charlotte 2007 and The Laddie 8 Year Old. With the #WhiskyEx it looked to be a promising evening.
We were lead through the night by Signe Johansen, so let’s see how it went.
Bruichladdich – Laddie Eight – 50% ABV – £49.99
Our sample was distilled 10/03/2008 and bottled 18/03/2016.
This is a Travel Retail Exclusive release which you can find in World Duty Free shops.
The unpeated ‘Laddie Eight’, is the latest exclusive for GTR released by head distiller Adam Hannett. His aim with this vatting is to preserve the elegant, floral notes of the vibrant young spirit while building up the signature salty, citrus tang so characteristic of Bruichladdich.
He understands that eight years maturation in a warehouse that hugs the shores of Loch Indaal will impart complex notes of apple, pear and subtle layers of oak. His reward is this graceful single malt that relates to a very modern craftsmanship.
Bottled in-house by their talented young workforce of 85 Islay men and women, at the unusually high strength of 50%. It speaks clearly of the quality of ingredients, and the importance of the remote Hebridean environment in which it evolved.
I love the burnt toffee edge which is first up. This mixes with fresh hay and freshly mown lawns. Vanilla pods, stewed apples, poached pears and tinned peaches bring a rich sweetness.
There was a rich mineral clay note comes through combining with a sea air, farmyard barns and cattle, swirling like pipe smoke on a fishing boat, with wet hemp nets and a wet, heavy mist.
The creaminess hits the smokiness and the pair tussle for supremacy, but there are no winners (except the lucky person drinking it), they fade in out, in a swirling dance, like an endless waltz.
The farmyard note starts to come through, bringing more of the coastal element out, and there are lemon drops and honey flapjacks and a sweet fried batter note, like fresh waffles, or fritters and lashing of boiled milk.
The mineral edge is still there it’s salty and earthy, large brown paper sacks full of potato dust.
There is a spicy, smokiness that is first up, to be honest it was very peat like for me, even though this is an unpeated Bruichladdich, I think there is just that peat smoke underpinning all that Bruichladdich do, typical house style.
This spicy, smokiness hits the roof of your mouth and takes over, before a heavy oak influence appears which is both drying and full of tannins.
There is rich vanilla clotted cream with malted milk biscuits dipped in warm milk and homemade toffee sauce which brings a confectionary sweetness in. Honey, with the honeycomb inside, and a porridge oat bath, sweet, milky with a touch of floral violet water.
Don’t worry though, just as you think this is going to be a one trick pony, and a sweet overload in comes a big peppery, liquorice kick waiting to change the course of this whisky.
The lemon is softer than on the nose with lemon polenta cake and a salt crust. There are doughy, just cooked bagels and all spice lurking in the background. The apples from the nose make a fleeting appearance alongside tinned peaches and soft lemon from the nose.
It’s oily with juicy kiwi and cantaloupe melon juice. The oils coat the entire palate and the smoke is sweet almost incense like, bringing with it a lungful of beach with salt, linseed oil and hessian sacks all combining.
There is a lovely heat, a peppercorn prickle with the addition of bay leaves adding a distinctive herbal note which adds a savoury depths and a marmite, gravy umami tang
Effervescent, with a strong lemon tang and hard hitting, grown up oak. There is rich, mineral rich earth, brine and plenty of sea salt. There are geraniums lurking too, this a long sweet, yet drying, spicy finish.
This is a fantastic bottling by Bruichladdich, this is a vibrant, strong, expression. It’s like a party from your 18th but when your thirty, grown up and sensible, yet fun and crazy. It’s chock full of “house style” Bruichladdich notes. A travel retail with an age statement, and it more than holds it’s own. This is one worth booking a flight for.
Port Charlotte 2007 – 57.8% ABV – £67.99
Our sample was distilled 03/10/2007 and bottled on 21/01/2016. A travel Retail Exclusive which you can buy in World Duty Free stores.
The PORT CHARLOTTE 2007 CC:01 is the latest single malt crafted with pride at the house of Bruichladdich. Each is a tribute to the exceptional, heavily peated spirit that was created in the village, at Loch Indaal distillery, until its closure in 1929.
Breaking with tradition, 2007 CC:01 has been kept full term in finest French oak, slumbering on Islay for eight years in casks that previously held one of the great eau de vie from the western Cognac region.
It’s young and enthusiastic workforce defies convention by distilling, maturing and bottling all its whiskies on the remote Scottish island. Now some 85 strong they steadfastly refuse to artificially colour or chill filter their malts. They prefer instead to offer whiskies with an unusually high bottle strength.
Woah!! The fire has arrived, this beach bonfire is down to the ashes and is littered with dried seaweed which has spent all day in the sun, damp sand and left over baked potato skin which has been cooked on the fire.
There is freshly smoked fish, in fact it’s more than that, and this is more akin to actually being inside the smoke house itself. Then there is an intense farmyard note made up of fresh grass, warm hay, cattle feed, and just a note of manure, it may sounds strange but combined it’s everything I have come to associate with Port Charlotte.
There is cold, stone dunnage warehouses, with alcohol in the air, cask upon cask releasing their damp oak notes and straw and sawdust on the floor. There is a fibrous note similar to Bran flakes and damp cardboard.
A large sprinkling of lemon zest appears, giving this a real lift and combines with the sea salt, scallops and iodine peat.
This nose takes you to Islay, not just in a whimsical, if you really think about it you, you may think you are in Islay, oh no, as in, if I open my door I am going to step out on to the beach and watch the waves lapping the shore.
This nose is so intensely peated and there are meaty notes starting to appear reminiscent of a good pancetta and steaks on the BBQ.
There is pumpkin seed bread and corn husks which add depth with sweet yet earthy notes, before red apples with oats, honey and mandarin juice make themselves known.
There is a rubber note, which can only be described as welly boots caked in wet sand, tangled in seaweed, worn by an old fisherman, weather beaten and full of maritime stories and resting against driftwood. There are old tobacco pipes, with icing sugar before the peat takes over.
PEAT, Peat, hitting hard and loud it’s everything the nose promised, it’s dirty and sweet and it brings with it a lovely fruity note with pears, cherries, blackberries and apricots.
There are fresh vanilla pods combining with cream making a silky vanilla panacotta, with toasted oak and creamed coconut.
The BBQ from the nose comes through with rump steak, Hoisin sauce and pork belly with a peppercorn crust.
Rich beef stock and marmite with twiglets before lemon zest, lime juice, Iodine and an astringent, earthy mescal note and doc leaves.
A sweeter note comes through with marshmallow skin, I’m not entirely sure if “skin” is the right word, but not the soft chewy inside, but the slightly chalky, hard outer edge.
Lastly it has the smell of the dentist, (stay with me here, I know I may sound like I have temporarily lost it), but there’s the putty, the anaesthetic, the lasting taste of rubber gloves prodding your mouth, slightly minty mouthwash and alcohol wipes, it may sounds strange but it is oh so good.
As these notes linger on, the peat smoke comes back through, sweet, briny and omnipresent.
Long and wonderful, that smoke keeps puffing, the lemon, the sweet marshmallows, the earthy baked potatoes, vanilla cream, seaweed, damp sand, driftwood, it’s Islay in a glass and in a word it’s wonderful.
I’m not going to lie, one of the best noses in I don’t know how long, I could stay here all night. This is a fantastic whisky, it may be my favourite of the night, although it’s so hard to choose.
All the maritime notes, meet the farmyard, meet a BBQ and it’s a sensory explosion. It has one of the best noses I’ve had in I don’t know how long, I could stay here nosing this all night.
And the palate is just as good, in fact better, but then you go back to the nose, and wonder if that’s the most enjoyable part.
This really is the kind of whisky that you want to throw the cork on the fire, sit around a bonfire on the beach and lose yourself in the flames and the waves. Worth taking a flight to anywhere, just to buy these.
A big thanks to both Bruichladdich and World Duty Free for inviting me to such a special tasting, these whiskies were more than amazing!
Quite often people think that the Travel Retail offerings are poorer than the standard releases, sometimes this can be the case, but not always, and believe me these definitely aren’t, I want to book a flight just so I can buy both of these and that’s no joke.
If you get the chance to buy these, do, you will not be disappointed, and if you want to thank me for this great advice, you can grab me a bottle too.
Just kidding, however for fans of Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte you will love these, and they will quickly become a firm favourite. A big thank you to Signe Johansen (@SigneSJohansen) for being the perfect host for the evening, and of course to all my fellow tweet tasters.
Kirsty Clarke (@kirstyclarke29)