The last few years have given rise to the Peat Wars (now here is a battle I can really get behind). Islay heavyweights, Ardbeg and Bruichladdich, have gone head-to-head, leaving other phenolic giants coughing in their wake. Undoubtedly Jim McEwan’s daring has been the weapon that has won most of the battles for the ‘Laddich squads. (I should further note…a none-too-subtle comment dropped at a recent ‘Laddie tasting suggests that McEwan still has an A-bomb or two tucked away as well.)
Under Jim’s guidance, Bruichladdich has produced spirit under three lines; Port Charlotte, Octomore and of course Bruichladdich itself. This expression we’re speaking to at the moment, “Peat”, is a polygamous marriage of all three. As these spirits were all distilled under the same roof, this ‘vatting’ is still a single malt. Imagine…the fruit-rich ‘Laddich base tempered by the creamy and buttery peated enormity of Port Charlotte before being goosed by the might of Octomore’s liquid fire.
If you’ve tried these three spirits individually, you’ll have some understanding as to how each is contributing, but can still stand on its own. When they come together…well…
Somehow the resulting spirit manages to find balance and harmony. Let this one breath a little upon opening. Decanting does wonders here, as this one drastically shifts gears after the first cork pop. For the better.
This is a thick, buttery and butterscotch-rich malt. Smoke and peat are obviously the most integral aspects here, but there is a nice round sweetness as well. This is met by sharp citrus and cola courtesy of the Octomore component. A little of the mildest almond and I keep thinking I’m snatching hints of vanilla but it repeatedly gets dashed to pieces on the sharp briny citrus.
The palate is oily and viscous (the hallmark of McEwan’s passion). Creamy and quite typical ‘Laddich delivery, but as one should expect…youthful and spirited. Cola with lime. A touch of oak…but only on the palate. Quite a heft to this one. The finish is long and drying. No surprises.
My only real criticism? Could have been bottled at cask-strength for even more oooomph.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt