Single malt whisky - tasting notes

02 Apr 2009

Ten days of… peated Bruichladdich

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in * News

A new series that I would like to introduce on this blog: “Ten days of…”. It will consist of 3 or 4 posts with tasting notes from a single distillery and / or with a common theme and spread over 10 days. I’ll start with a couple of peated Bruichladdich releases.

First, a word or two about peat. Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter (swamp forrest), a few thousands of years in age. It can be cut in the form of bricks, dried and used as a fossil fuel. Prior to distilling whisky, the barley is malted and dried.  Traditionally on Islay, they used the heat from peat fires for this. Interestingly, peat smoke chemically ‘sticks’ to barley grains, which is the reason why the exotic aroma of peat smoke can still be experienced in the distilled spirit.

Peat in Scotch whisky is measured in parts per millions (ppm). Only a few percent of the production is peated, but on Islay that percentage is a lot higher. An “unpeated” Scotch may clock in at 5 to 10 ppm. A typical Lagavulin, Ardbeg or Laphroaig will contain between 30 and 50 ppm of peat phenols which makes a huge difference in the taste. Recently, there has been a small race in obtaining the highest level of peat. Bruichladdich introduced the Octomore which contains a stunning 131 ppm. Soon after that, the Ardbeg Supernova was announced, which weighs in at around 100 ppm. This race is quite useless, but it’s a fact that peated whisky is gaining popularity and even distilleries outside of Islay are experimenting and releasing peated versions of their spirit (e.g. BenRiach, Caperdonich, Longrow…). 

Bruichladdich logo Although Bruichladdich is on Islay, they don’t have a tradition of using much peat in the production of their whisky. The new owners started some peated experiments in 2001, such as the 3D series (now replaced by Bruichladdich Peat) and the Port Charlotte bottlings.

Let’s have a look at some of those peated experiments from Bruichladdich in the next couple of days, starting tomorrow with the Bruichladdich 3D3.

Ten days of… peated Bruichladdich Ruben Luyten 2009-04-02
  • Jorgen

    allright…..!! let’s taste!

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  • Tony: I wonder if the rest of the cask is the TWE 1981 just released with no cask number (and a similar though not identical strength)...
  • john marrinan: That is true, but to all intents and purposes a score of 87 is the same as a score of 90. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the maniacs scored it the
  • WhiskyNotes: It's not so much a matter of trusting a score as it is a matter of being able to relate to it.

Coming up

  • Miltonduff 2005 (DT #837112)
  • Clynelish 1997 (Liquid Art)
  • Clynelish 1997 (Whisky Mercenary)
  • Clynelish 1997 (Maltbarn)
  • Laphroaig An Cuan Mor
  • Fettercairn 1990 (Liquid Library)
  • Yamazaki 12 Year Old
  • Tomatin 1997 (Liquid Library)

1734 notes by Ruben

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