Have I Got News Four You: Revisiting Bruichladdich’s Peat Monsters

I don’t do it so much now, but for years, I part-decanted [virtually] every bottle of whisky I bought into a small number of [3/6/15cl] sample bottles for future reference. Digging around, I fancied a ‘smoke’ and unearthed four peat-monsters from the Bruichladdich stable. Though a revisit for me, it’s the first time my thoughts about three of today’s quartet will have featured on these pages.

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[Bruichladdich] Port Charlotte PC8 2001/2009 8yo Ob. ‘Ar Duthchas’ [30000 bts] 60.5% WB87.55[408] WF89 WM86[13]

This is the only bottle of today’s four that I have previously reviewed on these pages [WLP87]. Let’s see how I find it five years on.

  • N: There’s an easiness/familiarity to this ingredients-faithful presentation with its bourbon-y sweetness, light-farmy yet oily grain legacy, and [clean] oniony light mezcal < tequila vibes [a reoccurring theme] – albeit with a rubbery > plimsole and liquorice [tea] > ‘dunked’ Nice biscuit note.
  • T&F: With some [water-manageable] bourbon gackiness on the palate, we’ve a [woody herbal lemondade-y]~bitter-sweet to a decidedly lemony sour situation. There’s a woolly touch which doesn’t detract from the elongated encapsulating pepperminty fresh gingery sour lemon viscosity on the finish with a medicinal sour conclusion.
  • C: A thoroughly excellent spirit-faithful whisky if not exactly a comfort blanket dram overall. These are our future – glass-aged – classics.

Scores 89 points [going on 92 in 2045?]

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[Bruichladdich] Port Charlotte PC10 2002/2012 10yo Ob. ‘Tro Na Linntean’ [6000] 59.8% WB87.95[270] WM91[1] WN88

  • N: A bready salty allium-y [seemingly] rum > tequila-like collaboration with the addition of a few sultanas, 1/3 teaspoon of cocoa powder and, despite Bruichladdich’s savoury nature in general, more than a suggestion of maple syrup over a few ham squares. Indeed, sweet ex-bourbon casks help subdue the phenols somewhat.
  • T: Super oily yet floury/grain-dry over a salty shammy leathery belly, we’ve a heavy salted vegetal/medicinal minerallic > diluted syrupy delivery,…
  • F: ,… with a gradual~growing reveal, intensely salty, and with a dirty dry garage-y savoury-sour [watered-down] golden syrup finish. 
  • C: Bruichladdich’s heavily peated bruisers [accompanied by a suitably complimentary high-octane abv] rarely favour the faint-hearted, this one being a prime example. For me, the highlight was the journey points between arrival and release.

Scores 88 points

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[Bruichladdich] Octomore 06.1 05yo [2013] Ob. American Oak Casks [18000 bts] 57% WB86.66[830] WF85

  • N: Crisp vegetal farmy saltiness with a layered oak-wood vanilla wafer – Caol Ila meets Ardbeg if you will – and a Mr Whippy slowly melting over a tea-dunked Weetabix~Digestive biscuit.
  • T: A crisp formidably barley-faithful single malt with soft tequila/rum vibes. The saltiness is ever-intense, though after trying all four drams, you soon acclimatise.
  • F: Remaining crisp and barley/peat faithful, I pick up on an illusion of a [white] wine finish.
  • C: Having not connected with this release so strongly in the past – mostly judged against the 06.2 to follow – years [and years] on, I’m far more convinced.

Scores 88 points

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Last up, an Octomore favourite. It’s incredible to think this bottle cost me just £75 back in the day though the hype and subsequent price surge [£250+] peaked and cooled in the intervening years.

[Bruichladdich] Octomore 06.2 05yo [2013] Ob. Ex-eau-de-vie Limousin oak [18000 bts] 58.2% WB86.19[427] WF87

Just to be clear, this youthful spirit has been aged in Ex-eau-de-vie Limousin oak casks, and not – as I’ve wrongly mentioned in the past – Limonsin ex-cognac casks.

  • N: If I were to start a distillery, I might head towards this uber-oily farmy vegetal style with layered oaky phenolic lemon juice and a drop or two of apple cider > onion vinegar. Being spirit-faithful and aged to retain youthfulness and a full-bodied weighty fattiness, we find ourselves in a mature genever/mezcal-tequila territory.
  • T: With an equally focused savoury and sweet coupling, we’ve a very salty farmy phenolic and bitter /sour lemon/lime shandy, the previous [eau de vie] cask contents seemingly promoting the [allium-y] cowpats with further leanings towards tequila > mezcal. Perhaps that’s why I love this so whilst others not so much. Perhaps a curveball for a blind tequila line-up?
  • F: With a further eau de vie injection, we finish with a now relaxed new make-y finish, [white] grape/wine-like, the oily viscosity continuing to envelop over the palate.
  • C: To love this one is to appreciate raw spirit regardless of grain/cane/vine [or cask] origin, not an unreasonable challenge for someone with dedication to the pursuit of flavour & taste, to quality over quantity. This will, however, remain a weird/left-field whisky for those who tend to stick to particular single malt [Scotch] styles.

Scores 88 points

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The common theme between all these four whiskies? Spirit-faithfulness with an immense intense crisp salty farmy hit, and tequila/mezcal/rum vibes throughout!

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