Tag Archives: Baby Sick

Bruichladdich Octomore 2.1

Islay region — 62.50%ABV – $130 | £97 | €112

There’s a lot to be said about this whisky but much of it is going to come out from the whisky itself.

What I can tell you before we get into the actual review of it is that it’s a big furry bear of a whisky; chock full of a lot more than I expected (to be very honest with you).

When this whisky first came out I was a bit skeptical.  I thought that Bruichladdich’s coming out with the biggest, peatiest whisky on the market was nothing more than a “who’s got the biggest whisky schvanse” marketing ploy and nothing more.  I think I was wrong.  Dead wrong.

I think I’m going to skip to the chase here on this whisky…

On the nose Nice and fruity – pears, rhubarb, licorice, soured and sweetened milk (again, baby vomit – it must be a young Bruichladdich thing), lemony, white lithium grease, oh yeah, some peaty smokiness…

For having a peat level of 10 trillion parts per million (OK, it’s really 140ppm), it’s not the burning cauldron of brimstone I expected.

A bit young and fiery, filled with salt and spit (like a young Ricky Hatton, if he were a whisky) – with water the menthol kicks in as does an immense brush fire.

Reminds me of the time when I was 8 years old and burned down my local woods while playing with matches.  Light a match, blow it out.  Light a match, blow it out.  Look down and, wham-o, my shoes are on fire!  I ran away intact.  I wish I could say the same for the woods…

On the mouth Wham, bam thank you ma’am!

I just got bitch slapped by this ‘laddich!

The ABV is making its presence known…  Hot!

However, the mouth feel is great, oily, chewy… nice, nice, nice.

Buttery biscuits, ashes, licorice, more ashes.

With water: it just got that much chewier and now creamy;

with water, this is a true treat.

Apples arrive and so does caramel (fantastic combination).

Delicious, chewlicious, peatlicious.

Finish On and on, creamy, peaty and fruity…

In sumI love it when I’m proved wrong.  This is a great whisky that has MUCH more to offer that peat & smoke.  A lovely stunner with the sweet, sour, fruits, smoke, chewiness, etc…  Especially given the price, this is one to treat yourself with (preferably during the winter time).

A big thanks goes out to Gal of Whisky Israel for this sample.  Gal did a side by side (or head to head, however you want to look at it) of the Octomore 2.1 & 2.2 – click here for his good thoughts on these Octomores.

Arran Port Cask – bottled at 50% ABV

Islands region – 50%ABV – £38 | €45

I’ve got to hand it to the folks at Arran Malt Distillery – every single one of their single malt whiskies are bottled at a minimum of 46% ABV and are non-chill filtered.

“What does that mean?” you might ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Or, should I say, I’ll give you my opinion on the matter:

At 46% ABV, I feel I’m given the freedom to drink the stuff straight or add a wee bit of water, just incase it’s too hot.  At 46%, some of the added dimension to the whisky imparted by the alcohol remains.

With the whisky not being chill filtered, there are a lot of great fatty acids that stay in the whisky which help it retain it’s maximum flavor.

As an example of chill filtering verses non-chill filtering, you can check out my review of The Balvenie 21yr Portwood here where I compare the two different versions.

OK, going to go right into this one here…  Another special cask finish by Arran – a bit of a strange one but hey, I like strange.

On the nose Spicy nose with initial hits of spiced shittake mushroom.

Unripened bananas.

Cinnamon applesauce, perhaps with some raspberry mixed in.

Traces of green apple-y new make spirit.

White pepper.

Smoked salt on watermelon (my wife introduced me to this delicious treat – try it sometime – delicious!  The woman shown is NOT my wife, by the by).

On the mouth Fresh grapes and fizzy grape soda, Welch’s style.

A dry cool night filled with fallen leaves.

Salty on the mouth with added notes of starfruit.

Some soured milk/baby sick… an interesting group of flavors.

Finish A tad garlicy with some hot pepper.  Good length.

In sum Light yet warming – the autumnal note in the tasting of this hit it on the head.  A warmer-upper of a whisky.  It’s youth is apparent but this is not a fault.  I enjoyed the brightness.  An extra year or two in a bourbon cask may have helped to balance this whisky out a bit but, if it were in your house house and you offered me some of this whisky; I’d not say no.  I may jump at the chance to sip more.  Fun stuff.

Special thanks goes out to Andy Hogan for the sample!

Port Charlotte “PC6” – Bruichladdich’s heavily peated young whisky

Islay region – 61.6%ABV – 750ml bottle – $120 | £95 | €115

Let the love affair begin.  I’ve heard lots of good news about Bruichladdich’s newer Port Charlotte range.  LOTS of good news.  And lately, I’ve been hearing some great stuff about the “PC6”.  In case you haven’t figured it out yet, “PC” stands for “Port Charlotte” and the “6” tells us that, you guessed it, it’s a 6 year old whisky.

My first reaction to the fact that this is only six years old is similar to the reaction many people have had — “only six years old and it’s how much money???”  Oy vey ishmir!

I had a conversation with a guy from Binny’s a while back on the same subject – why so much for such a young whisky (at the time we were discussing last year’s Ardbeg Supernova)?  He brought up a good point: “Who cares?  Is it good whisky?” he asked.  “Yes”, I told him.  He went on. “Then why does age matter?  You’re paying for a well crafted single malt.  You’re paying for a work of art.  Who cares how old it is”.  Like I said, he makes a good point.  Deep in the back of my head there’s that little voice that says “still though…” —   But truly, I think he’s right.

So what’s all of this good news I speak about?  Check out my links below.  Firstly, let’s taste this and see if it’s worth it’s weight in whisky (a special thanks to DH for the sample!!):

On the nose — Big-ass smoke!  Powerfully pungent with smoke like burning driftwood (think salty peat or perhaps a beach bonfire).  Sparklers on the 4th of July (for my US readers out there).  Soured & sweet milk notes (baby vomit).

Serge of Whisky Fun nailed it with his detection of buttered mashed potatoes – on the nose Serge (pun intended)! Leather jackets and damp horse stable.  That leather smell alone makes me want to break out Iggy Pop’s “Raw Power”.  Either that or Yes’ Close to the Edge and put in on full blast – two very different albums but somehow both fitting to this whisky.  Powerful yet complex and beautiful.

On the mouth — Mmmm, mmmm – chewy smoked cheese, electrical charges and spent matches, tannic, drying but first a nice juicy entry.  Fruity notes and buttermilk biscuits (albeit burnt ones).

The peat is wonderful here and somehow refreshing even in this hot weather (it hit 89 deg fahrenheit today!).  At 61.6% ABV I know I should add a little water but this is so nice at full strength.

Finish — It’s all on the leather and now some great grassy floral notes (almost rose petal) come out, then some burn arrives and it gets a tad effervescent.  Even an hour later and my mouth is still filled with smoke and ash.  Love it!

In sum Wonderfully heavily-peated expression.  If you’re not a peat fan, you probably have not read this far down in the review…  If you’re interested in getting into peated and smokey whiskies this will surely pique your interest (but may scare the living shit out of you; in a good way though, like the first time you saw The Exorcist.  Scary as hell but, you watched it again and could not wait for the pea soup to flow).  If you’re a peathead, welcome to heaven.

See what others have to say:

Serge of Whisky Fun!

Dr. Whisky

The Casks

Tasting 7 Ardbegs (well, really 6 with one that is supposed to be an Ardbeg)

Ok, truth be told, I am no Superman.

Really, I’m just a guy who had some time on his hands and decided to taste seven, count them, seven Ardbegs in one sitting.  Just so you know, I am not one to get drunk.  In fact, I avoid it like the plague.  I’m a total control freak and loosing control in a drunken frenzy, is just not my bag.

So, how did I taste seven Ardbeg whiskies with out getting trashed?  Water, food and a nearly 3 hour tasting event.  I did it alone too which, for a tasting of this size and scope, I preferred.  I didn’t want anyone to influence what I was tasting.  Try it sometime. It’s like solitaire with booze.

Even though I posted tasting notes on some of these whiskies prior to this event, the notes below are new notes.  Why would I post new notes on whiskies I’ve already posted about, you ask??  Well, things change, moods change, etc…  Also, and more importantly, I tasted these whiskies one after another and my guess is that there was influence from one whisky to the next.

Oh, one last thing, Gal of Whisky Israel and I did a joint tasting of the Ardbeg Rollerocaster via Twitter and that posting will go up within the next week or two.  I did notice that my individual tasting of the Rollercoaster and this tasting with the other six Ardbeg whiskies was a different experience.  Watch out for that posting!

Alright folks, I’m done with the preamble and I’m ready to taste:

Ardbeg Ten Years Old – Islay region – 46%ABV – 750ml bottle$45 | £33 | €38

On the noseBright lemons right up front, sand-in-your-toes – a jog on the beach with the spray of ocean in your face (Awesome!), peat smoke (quite sweet), celery salt, rubber boots.

On the mouth Chewy peat, there’s such a beautiful element here, lemons, fruit, something a bit synthetic, warming, oak and boat tar.

FinishBright and quite pleasing, tingly – what a great entry level whisky.

Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist – Islay region – 46%ABV – 750ml bottle – $79 and up | £64 | €71

On the nose Peat (quite warm at that), grassy but increasingly fruity, some sour milk notes (baby vomit?), oak a bitter fruits (genepa?).

On the mouth Pure sex, dried fruits, raisins, prunes, nutty, oily, warms my body, delicate peat smoke.

Finish Still as short as I remember but, that’s Ok.  It’s all in the palate for me anyway.  Wait, those oaky notes I remember are back as is that warming feeling on the sides of my tongue.

Ardbeg – Indy Bottling – Cheiftain’s 1998 11yr – Islay region – 46%ABV – 70cl bottle – Not sure of the cost – sold out at all locations I frequent…

On the nose Oh, you’re an odd little Ardbeg aren’t you?? — Dirty peat, earthy, lemons (but not a bright lemon scent, more meringue and actually, a bit more like grapefruit than lemons the more I sniff), wood chips (almost a cedar-type quality to it), grassy.  There’s something else here too that I just can’t place. I can’t think of the scent but I’m getting images of an autumn state fair in my head every time I sniff and think about it…  Man, this is going to bug the crap out of me.

On the mouthA strange entry here, fruits all up front (citrus ones and they’re running the gamut), the peat arrives here kicking all of the fruits out of the way.  This is quite dirty and earthy (me like!).

Finish A nice warming peatiness here, some nuttiness I did not pick up anywhere else, long.

A Special thanks to DH for the sample of the Chieftain’s Ardbeg.

Ardbeg Corryvreckan – Islay region – 57.1%ABV – 750ml bottle – $79 and up | £60 | €70

On the nose Ah the brine!  Love it.  Love this Corryvreckan nose.  Big ABV but again (as in my previous post about it), I can keep my nose in the glass until I pass out from lack of oxygen, oak, tar, sweet peat smoke, nori seaweed, low tide, bursting with citrus notes!

On the mouth(Let the cask strength begin!)  Big peat attack but quite sweet, very oceanic (low tide), salty, tarry ropes, after the first three whiskies I’m not getting the dried fruits in the palate that I got the first time around (palate fatigue? I don’t think so.  Am I drunk?  I hope not.)  Let’s try again – there it is – pruney, some root veggies here now (parsnip): awesome.

FinishLong, they say diamond last forever.  This must be the diamond of the whisky world. Peat stays in your mouth for sure.

Ardbeg Supernova 2009 – Islay region – 58.9%ABV – 750ml bottle – $130-200+ | £200 | €233

On the nose Big, sweet and lemony.  More so than the 10yr (to my nose). Large peat, charred lemons (I imagine), rubber notes, beach ball leaves beach to have a swim in the ocean, lovely.  This nose would scare the living shit out of most people, me thinks – it attacks you!

On the mouth Here we go y’all – this is the most peated Ardbeg there is at 100ppm.  Let’s see what happens.  Ok, being that you’re reading this now means I didn’t burst into flames.  Here’s what actual happened – Ooof, it’s like the Ardbeg 10yr on steroids.  Bursting with lemony sweetness, brine and, of course, peat but it’s not the burnt piece of toast I expected.  Theres a purity here that’s quite remarkable.  Thin mouth feel but, hey, that’s Ok with me, the flavors are great.

Finish like the sides of my tongue are being tattooed with peat and using a lemon rind to get under my skin, some nice oak notes too.

A special thanks to JJY for the sample of the Ardbeg Supernova.

Ardbeg Rollercoaster – Islay region – 46%ABV – 750ml bottle – $79 and up | £50 | €58

On the nose I know that there are some younger whiskies in the make up of this expression but the nose (to me) doesn’t feel as young as I expected.  Peat for sure but it’s sort of a sexy nose (not biting or brash which I usually associate with younger peat), strawberry jam, citrus (of course!  this is Ardbeg people!), heavily salted stuff.

On the mouth Quite savory compared to the sweetness of the other Ardbegs I’ve tried.  Salted pie crust (if there were such a thing), peat, lots of peat, some fruits rear their heads here (strawberry, pomelo), charred wood, cherries now and some tobacco.  I am loving the Rollercoaster more & more!

Finish Medium long, this is at the perfect strength if you ask me.

Ellenstown 10yr Cask Strength – Islay region – 46%ABV – 750ml bottle – $45-$75 (could not find a UK/EU source)

On the nose Soapy, peaty nose, sugary (almost candied), some boggy notes come through (trout fishing at the local pond with my dad circa 1982), not as briny as some of the others I nosed, a bit grassy – not as nice a nose as the others but you brought me back in time and I like that.

On the mouth A light brisk walk on the beach, quite citrusy and purely delicious.  I’ve had this as a stand alone an “liked it” but next to some of the others whiskies I’ve been having, I now “love this”.  Quite a nice expression we have here.  Back to the flavors: Some sour notes pop up but overall there’s nothing but sweetness and peatness, a few **very** light rubbery notes but mostly a more natural feel to this one.

Finish A great length here, some grassiness on the finish alongside oaky notes and lemon grass.

Vatting of all seven expressions – this is like the Voltron of whisky here!! – Cost: Priceless

On the nose Very briny, much like the Corryvreckan!  Some tannic – almost winey notes here (like a really dry cabernet, dry & fruity), quite the salty nasal attack here.  Big, big peat!  something almost candy like (think the sugar from Pez Candy with out all of the artificial fruits), stinky shoes.

On the mouth Big punch of peat!  Awesome mouth feel – more oily than any of the individual Ardbegs.  The taste of the smell of an outside grill, woody (oak), vanilla bean ice cream (clear out of the blue some creamy notes came through), freshly-washed-and-hanging-to-dry-clothes.

Finish Oily, just like the mouth feel, big peat!  A cornucopia of citrus fruits.  Heaven.

In sum This was an amazing experience.  I was quite happy to taste the Ellenstown alongside the other whiskies.  Doing so improved that expression like you wouldn’t believe.  With regards to the Airigh Nam Beist, I was told by a few people not to taste it along side the younger Ardbegs as it’s magic would be lost.  To this statement I say: Bullshit.  If anything, tasting the beast alongside the younger Ardbeg whiskies made the Airigh Nam Beist stand out in a very positive way.

So, which whisky won?  I have to say that my own personal vatting was my favorite expression (Woo Hoo, I win!).  This being said, you will never have a chance to taste the JSMWS Ardbeg so I will now have to suggest another winner.

Drum roll please….

Ardbeg Corryvreckan – even though I prefer older, sexier peat, the Corry is so well balanced and complex.

Bruichladdich 3D3

Islay region – 46%ABV – 750ml bottle – $55 | £40

Another great Bruichladdich came my way.  This time in the form of a sample from my friend “O.K.”  Bruichladdich is one of these lesser known whiskies here in the states – especially when going to a bar (unless it’s a really good one like The Daily Pint that I just went to with a new friend – a post on that later with details of a new reader challenge issued to yours truly!).

A run of the mill bar in the US just does not carry a good selection of Scotch whiskies (or American whiskeys for that matter).  Most bars have the token Jameson, Dewar’s, Johnnie Walker Red & Black label, Chivas Regal 12yr and maybe a 12yr Glenlivet or Glenfiddich.  I’m not knocking these whiskies – they’re all nice and very drinkable.  But, nothing super special.

I would love to start seeing some (at the very least) entry level Highland Park, Bruichladdich, Ardbeg, Glenmorangie, Balblair, Cragganmore… the list can go on and on.  I’ve been trying to edu-m’cate my local watering holes but, I can’t do it everywhere I go.  Your average red-blooded American does not have access to the finer Scotch whiskies and it’s a damn shame.

Let me get on to my review of the whisky at hand: Bruichladdich 3D3!

On the nose — Sweet peat, honey, green apples, something a bit bitter (can’t quite place it), baby vomit, latex gloves, cheddar cheese (or more like salty cheese crackers, think Gold Fish) – came back for another nosing and found some nice flowery notes popped up and slight grassiness – perhaps lemongrass – Loving this nose – very complex!

On the mouthNice peat attach right up front – quite good, I like this at 46%, briny and a little like cocktail sauce (or the lemons from it),

Nice chewy mouth feel, celery salt.  This is really done well – Kudos ‘laddies!

FinishLong, peaty, smoke, honey and rubber.  The peat has violated every part of my mouth (wow, that sounds a little…dirty) – a Bruichladdich done quite right!

In sumThere are so many great Bruichladdich expressions and while all of them (at least the ones I tried) are quite different from one another, you know you’re going to go on a great ride with these malts.  This being said, you can, for the most part, always count on a delicious fruitiness to be your driver through the Bruichladdich journey.  While I normally go for the peatier stuff during the cold seasons, I would have no problem reaching for this at any time of year.

For those confused by the “Baby vomit” descriptor, check out Guid Scotch Drink’s “Say What!?” post to better understand what I’m really smelling when I say “Baby Vomit”

Also, check out Whisky Israel’s post of the Bruichladdich 3D3, Gal has gone to great lengths to fill you in on who this malt was made for (or is in honor of): Norrie Campbell