Bruichladdich prides itself as a progressive distillery. A large part of it probably stems from the fact that they are willing to go against the norm, placing provenance over production efficiency and cost (hence higher margins). Consistency inevitably goes out of the window, but they reckon that’s what makes whiskies special.
The recently launched Islay Barley 2009 typifies their ethos to a tee. This expression was made only from barley grown on Islay, hence its name. The barley were harvested in 2008 from four inland farms, whose names are proudly displayed on the label. The distillation was done in 2009 and the distillate was matured in American Oak casks.
This unpeated whisky is officially described as having candied almonds and hints of toffee apple, nougat wafers and ginger biscuits. This makes it different from the previous Islay Barley expressions. For one, the 2007 release used barley from a farm that’s located nearer to the coast, leading to a more maritime character.
The other new expression is the Octomore 7.3. Octomore whiskies are fabled for their high PPMs (Phenol Parts per Million) and the latest expression, at 169, is no exception. This particular bottling is distilled using barley from James Brown’s Octomore farm, just two miles along the coast from Bruichladdich’s distillery. This whisky was matured in Spanish wine casks of Ribera Del Duero and American Oak casks. Notes of ginger, salt, vanilla, butterscotch, peaches and apricot. Oh, there’s peat and smoke too.
On a personal note, the Octomore 7.3 is an expression that we really enjoyed. Beyond the peat, there’s lots of tropical fruits and a tinge of savory notes for a bit of balance. The high ABV probably helped contributed to a heavy mouthfeel, which we liked.
You can get these bottles from 75cl.sg.