Tuesday, 3 June 2014

A Brace of Bruichladdich - Part 4

Time to wrap-up this mini-series on Bruichladdich with two peaty belters: the Port Charlotte Scottish Barley and the Octomore 5-year-old: Edition 0.61. As you can tell from the previous entries, I've been quite impressed with the range, with only the Black Art not quite suiting my palate, but it's the peated versions which I've really been looking forward to, so here we go.

Port Charlotte Scottish Barley - 50%
On the nose there's obviously peat smoke, but dig down and there are some wonderful smells to be found. There's bourbon biscuits, sweet baked lemon, smokey bacon crisps, burnt brown toast, orange-flavoured icing, a hint of vanilla, damp leaves, warm sand, tequila, caramel, a freshly struck match and a faint rubber note.
    On the palate, initially there's a delicious honey sweetness, which slowly transforms into burning twigs and leaves and there's an interesting sweet and sour note wrapped up in the glass, too. It's also quite spicy and that rubber note from the nose returns, although it should be noted it's nowhere near as intense as that found in the Balcones Brimstone or the Ardbeg Ardbog. After a while I also picked up some rye notes, burnt toffee and liquorice.
    The finish was full of smoke, sour wood, cinnamon, vanilla rock, honey and aniseed, while a deep caramel note rounded things off perfectly.

Octomore 5-year-old: Edition 0.61 - 57%
The Octomore might be peated to within an inch of its life, but this was surprisingly restrained in the glass - definitely no intense peat blast here. Instead, the peat gives a wonderful complexity to the spirit and I got some amazing aromas, with plums, strawberry jam, banana, bitter dark chocolate, caramel, tobacco, tequila, thick honey and a wee bit of ash wafting from the glass.
    The taste of this stuff was quite something and swishing it around my salivating gob was an experience. It's oily, and tastes of thick treacle and sweet honey and after a few minutes, the most beautiful chocolate notes materialised, in the shape of rich chocolate cake and coffee creams. The fun didn't stop there and before long burned dry wood, ash and mint came through. It was incredibly smooth, despite the high alcohol content and could easily be drunk neat.
    The finish kept the chocolate character going, with rich ganache coating the back of the tongue along with honey, bonfire smoke and vanilla. I even noticed a wee bit of Bowmore-style flat Irn-Bru.
    A truly wonderful dram and, despite the sunny weather in this part of the world, my mind immediately jumped ahead to winter, where this would be amazing on a cold, snowy night. I need a full bottle of this now!

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