Single malt whisky - tasting notes

16 Jun 2009

Bruichladdich Oirthir Gaidheal

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Bruichladdich

Don’t worry, I don’t know how to pronounce it either. Oirthir Gàidheal means “Coast of the Gael” indicating the gaelic roots of Islay people (together with Basques and Catalans).

It’s a 16 years old Bruichladdich, distilled on the 22nd of April 1993 and filled into a refill sherry butt. It’s a valinch, which means it’s bottled directly from the cask by the customer. The actual outturn is therefore probably lower than the predicted 1000 bottles. 



Bruichladdich Feis Ile 2009 Bruichladdich 1993 ‘Oirthir gàidheal’ (53,6%, OB 2009, Feis Isle 2009, Cask #13, 1000 btl.)

Nose: quite a malty start, but it opens up on fruity notes (peach, honey, berries covered in white chocolate) with (false) hints of peat (see below). Some fresh mint and grapefruit. Mouth: a lot punchier, quite some barley and still a few peaty associations (or so it seems), some sour notes, a bit of yeast and baked bread. Walnuts. Finish: nutty again (macadamia), peaty and again quite sour. Getting really dry in the end.

Enjoyable enough but not the best Feis Ile 2009 bottling nor the best Bruichladdich.

Score: 83/100


Update/ The reply from Bruichladdich’s Mark Renier made me want to taste it again. It turns out the sharp barley together with some false information about the dram’s properties (here and here) tricked me into thinking it was peated while it’s not. Apologies. It proves that the learning process never ends and that the power of suggestion should not be underestimated.

ps/ The second release of the Octomore has been bottled. It’s peatier than the first release (now 140ppm) and it will be presented in a box (I think I liked the tin better). There will be 15.000 bottles. Check the Laddie Blog for pictures. Oh, and PC8 will be the last in the PC… Port Charlotte series (30.000 bottles).

Bruichladdich Oirthir Gaidheal 3 Ruben Luyten 2009-06-16
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  • seon

    Pronounced, roughly, ‘or-heer gay-al’, with stress on first syllables.

    Good name. We’re not related to the Basques or Catalans though. Basque is pre-Indo-European whereas we stand on the Celitc branch of Indo-Euro languages with Irish, Manx, Welsh, Cornish and Breton.

    Away from linguistic geekery, it looks like an interesting dram. Bruichladdich have to be praised for their adventurous spirit, even if it doesn’t always succeed.

    Slàinte mhath.

  • Ruben

    Hi Seon, thanks for your reply. I’ve read about the Basques and Catalans on the Bruichladdich blog: where they talked about the common celtic ancestry. From a linguistic perspective, Basques have no relation whatsoever with other languages, if I remember correctly. It’s kind of a mystery where their dialect comes from.

    I agree that Bruichladdich should get a thumbs up for their creative thinking! Experimentation is always welcome.

  • seon

    Hi Ruben, yeah, saw that too. I think Bruichladdich have quite an imaginative PR department! All the best to them with their whisky though.

  • Mark

    This is not a peated whisky; there is possibly 3ppm maximum (from the water if anything) but certianly nothing like 80ppm. This basic error has been repeated by others and originates from one blog.

    The Basque/Gael connection is not linguistic at all,and was never claimed to be. It is genetic, irrefutable, and it goes back a long, long way, around 14,000 years ago.

  • Ruben

    Thank you for the explanation, Mark. The 80ppm statement has been deleted. I’m going to re-taste my sample, I would have sworn I detected hints of peat. Wishful thinking maybe.



November 2015
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Coming up

  • Lindores 2015 festival bottling
  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1932 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.