A NEW ‘TROIKA’ OF TENS
In 2011, Bruichladdich released their first new 10 year olds made from the spirit distilled since they re-opened for business in 2001.
Now Bruichladdich have released their second batch of 10 year olds, described by their Head Distiller Adam Hannett as “Very different – all three represent a snapshot in time. There is a respectful nod to those that have gone before… Although they are all fundamentally built on first-fill bourbon, I have used different suites of casks to construct each dram. There is Grenache Blanc in the Octomore, Tempranillo in the Port Charlotte and this new Laddie Ten vatting has some spirit matured in beautiful old sherry wood.”
So, without further ado, let’s see what my thoughts on them are…
Info: Second edition Laddie Ten, matured in first-fill Bourbon, sherry and French wine casks. Bottled at 50% alc. vol. using Islay Spring water. 18,000 individually numbered bottles.
Colour: Ripe summer straw.
Nose: A complete mixture of malt, sweet fruits, red apples, and bassy oiliness. Creamy, slight whiffs of cask char, and hints of farm yards. Seems to like a bit of oxygen to open up.
Palate: Considering it’s 50% abv, it’s surprisingly easy going on your palate. It’s oily, sweet, unctuous and moreish. The fruits combine to give a mushed apple and custard effect, along with fresher citrus and malt notes. Spices build fairly quickly.
Finish: The finish is quite long, with what I’d assume is wine cask tannins lasting to the end.
Water: A drop opens things up more, increased berry notes and malt tones, dials back the spices on the palate a touch making it somewhat easier to drink. I personally prefer it this way.
Thoughts: From memory this is fairly different from the 1st edition, which was a much straighter mix of casks. Which do I prefer? No idea, they’re kind of so different that you should pretty much consider them as two different drams and enjoy them as such, both great. I did love the first release though, so I need more time with the second to fall in love again.
Available: Master of Malt – £51.94
Info: Port Charlotte 10 year old. Matured in first-fill bourbon, sherry, tempranillo and French wine casks. Bottled at 50% alc. vol. using Islay Spring water. Heavily peated Islay Single malt – 40ppm. 18,000 individually numbered bottles.
Colour: Bright light to medium gold.
Nose: Strong, malty and sweet with lots of smoke and handfuls of peat. It seems to be slightly closed, and I wonder if oxygen, or even a little water will help to open this up further. Sure enough with some time further berry notes come out, a direct comparison to the Bruichladdich 10 year old, just with smoke on it!
Palate: This seems slightly smoother on the palate than the Bruichladdich 10yo, the peat is maybe helping to keep the spices more under control. It’s malty, and sweet with berries, but also smoked with just light highland type peat, nothing overly coastal and heavy here. After a while you might notice what in my mind is wine cask oak tannins.
Finish: Similar finish to the standard 10, but longer and given an extra pep by the peaty smoke that gives it a more wintery and warming feel, excellent stuff.
Water: Not needed that much, but a drop does seem to open it up on the nose a little, although lessens the smokiness on your palate, although conversely brings out more coal peat type notes on the finish, which is nice. All in all, only a tiny drop or none is best.
Thoughts: Yep, I’m enjoying this, the smoked element really elevating it into a dram that suits me nicely, wintery warming joy in a dram.
Available: Master of Malt – £56.96
Info: Octomore 10 year old. 57.3% alc.vol. with a splash of Islay spring water. 18,000 individually numbered bottles.
Colour: Full mid to late afternoon summers gold.
Nose: As with many Octomore’s, the higher the peat levels go, the more you expect to be smashed in the face with peat, but what you’re actually presented with is something rather elegant and smooth. Powerful, yes, but then it’s 57.3% abv. Sure it’s fairly heavy on the peat and the smoke, but it’s made in tall stills and has a light richness to it because of that. It’s jam packed with berry fruitiness, along with weetabix and a drop of cream.
Palate: The oilest and most easily sipped of the three drams, which is crazy at nearly 60% abv. After a short while however the heat and some spice builds to remind you it’s a full on strength dram… yet it still remains elegant, and for what’s potentially a bruiser of a peated dram, it’s not… it’s all gentlemanly and finary. Coal embers, sweet fruits, rich malt and back to highland, slightly sweet, peaty fire embers.
Water: Madly enough it really doesn’t need it, but at this strength it’d be rude not to really, just so that you don’t kill your tongue too quickly. It does seem to release more peat smoke on to your nose, as well as even more sweetness, so that’s a good start. On the palate it doesn’t hurt it too much, other than dialling everything back a fair bit; don’t go overboard with the water.
Finish: Richly sweet oils plaster your belly with warming hugs of peaty malt. We’re not talking your coastal TCP peat, it’s a more refined highland type peat.
Thoughts: I always love Octomore, and this is absolutely an Octomore at the top of it’s game… I much prefer it with age on it, and so for me this really is a treat. Out of the three, it’s actually the one that you could spend a real session on.
Available: Master of Malt – £155.84
Overall Thoughts: For me, the order was Octomore best, then PC, then Bruichladdich… not to say that Bruichladdich was the worst, but I remember the 1st release so fondly that for me that still has the top spot in my heart out of the two.
Thanks to Bruichladdich for the samples.
Comments or questions? Why not come and find me on twitter @steveprentice.