They say the sun always shines on Bruichladdich’s open day. That it did, though I’m sure no-one expected a heatwave for the entire festival. As I had heard from previous years, Bruichladdich offers a party atmosphere. Here you could try all their festival bottlings and a whole range of other expressions at their well stocked and varied bar. All manner of whisky, gin, beers and cocktails were on offer.
Tour-wise, there are peeps all over the in-operation distillery. No problem with photos being taken here. We even get to try the wash.
Bruichladdich wash  6.5% abv
- C: Smells like warm wheat beer with a little bitter ale side.
- Established in 1881 [SW], Remy Cointreau bought Bruichladdich in 2016.
- Their seven ton cast iron rake-and-plough mash tun dates right back to 1881 [see PIC above]. Apparently, it’s the biggest of three surviving open rake-and-plough mash tuns still in operation in Scotland. If Deanston is one [blog], Glenglassaugh is the other [SW].
- At £100000 per washback [apparently], Bruichladdich have 6.
- There are rumblings that Bruichladdich plan on using their own floor maltings in the future, primarily for a 100% Islay malt.
- The Ugly Betty still makes Bruichladdich’s Botanist, the fourth most popular gin in Scotland – apparently!
Tour over. To the bar!!!!!
[Bruichladdich] Port Charlotte 2001/2018 16yo Ob. Heretic Feis Ile 2018 [1300 bts] 55.9% WB89.19
- N: A fruity & fatty nose that may suggest a meaty body to come.
- T: A sadly lacking and slightly sour young 16yo with a thin & dry smokey mouthful.
- F: Mainly dry smoke.
- C: Originally £120, now twice the price at auction. This didn’t float my boat, however many respected folk regarded this highly.
Scores 80 points
[Bruichladdich] Port Charlotte 2005/2018 12yo Ob. Distillery Valinch cask #2087 [956 bts] 59.3% [50cl] WB90.37
- N: A fruity number that isn’t too blatantly oloroso-ed nor overly doctored! It’s also rather malty with a little peat oil.
- T: Oily sherry malt with a few choice berries, blackberry Tunes and tarry rope. There’s a hint of old skool about this for sure.
- F: Bitter-sweet and somewhat malty with a fairly short cut off.
- C: Rock on! £75 for a 50cl bottle on the day.
Scores 86 points
I’m pretty sure I’ve tried these next three before. Islay is where I fell in love with Octomore.
- N: Light sweaty & salty vegetal creme.
- T: Vegetal popcorn, the barley stretching out.
- F: Full on power with full control, oysters and kelp emerging at the end.
- C: This is a ‘buy now’, though for the price I’m also looking at a 29yo single cask Mannochmore. I had this down at 87 before.
Scores 88 points
- N: Custard Creams is all I noted but this one sparkles. The bar is rammed and I find noise the most off-putting phenomena over visual distractions.
- T: More Custard Creams with seaweed smoke – the kind of sweet vegetal profile I really like.
- F: A touch of wash/beer plus vegetal-sour smoke.
- C: What a cracker. I had it at 87 before, but with limited time constraints – and a less emotive atmosphere.
Scores 90 points today.
I’m reminded that Feis Ile isn’t necessarily about amazing whisky, old or new, it’s more about the social aspect. [PICS below – the calm before the storm].
- C: A highly competent & rounded expression, though a tad simpler & more spritely than the previous two Octomore’s. With 42000 bottles available, expect this to lap the auction circuit for years to come.
Scores 86, same as last year [Blog].