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Back for the Whisky Blog

Recently my daughter was staying with us over the late May bank holiday weekend, the 29th May for non UK folk, before heading off on the biggest experience of her life, she has landed herself a job as a photographer for a couple of months in the USA, after which she would be heading off to university back in the UK. She is 19.

I don't have to say it here, but I am so so proud of her, when she told me she was taking a year out after her A-Levels, I was worried that it may be difficult to return back to education, but she has spent the past year working in a full time job, saving money ready for her time at university, she knows what she wants in life, who she is and the direction she wants to take. I am very proud of her.

Im rolling the tale back a few weeks. We are having a game of text tennis and she asks me if I am on Untappd (link)
I tell her I am, give her my profile and we follow each other.

Damn my daughter likes beer and logs them on the App.


Back to the bank holiday weekend.
I pour myself a can of Old Speckled Hen (link), for those not from the UK, its an English Ale first brewed in 1979 to commemorate MG cars.

Old Speckled Hen

I enjoy almost any style of whisky but English Ales, Porters and Stouts are my usual.

I asked my daughter if she has tried it before and if she would like to give it a taste.
She responded 'No' to both points. I was little surprised by her reply.

She went on to explain that she only 'LIKES' - fruit sour beer, the occasional well hopped NEIPA or Imperial stout.
Now I get that a NEIPA can be juicy and fruity like a fruit beer, but an Imperial Stout!!!! Unless you go for a Dessert (Pastry) Stout like Thornbridge Sticky Toffee Pudding Imperial Stout, Amundsen Dessert In A Can Neapolitan Ice Cream Imperial Stout or Cloudwater 'My Continuous Improvement' Birthday Cake Imperial Pastry Stout for example, stout can be thick, heavy, bolder, more full bodied therefore, but also more bitter and critically stronger than almost all other types of beer. 

Stout beer and specifically Imperial Stout Beer are that far removed from Fruit Beers (which are more like a wine or cider) that they are completely polar in characteristic and flavour.

I took a step back, I looked at her like she was talking madness.
The only way I knew how to get across to her how mad she was talking was by analogy.

Liking a Fruit Beer is like, oh maybe, liking Feta Cheese its sharp, tangy, and salty, not quite as mild as a mozzarella (A lighter beer maybe a light lager) but easy and relatively un-offensive.
Liking an Imperial Stout is like enjoying a smelly cheese, not you average blue stilton, no! more like enjoying a 'Stinking Bishop (link)' or 'Epoisse de Bourgogne (link)', while I enjoy all types of cheese, Im not a cheese enthusiast, so there may be more appropriate analogous cheese. But the point I was making is, my daughter seemed to enjoy the ends of the spectrum of beer and didn't like everything inbetween.

So it got me thinking, are there whisky drinkers who enjoy a really un-offensive dram, maybe a Tomintoul 10, Glenmorangie 10 or Glenfiddich 12, but then also equally enjoy Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength, Ardbeg 10 or even Octomore (link) which is peated to over twice the 'parts per million/ppm' of Ardbeg. But these same people don't drink anything inbetween? Surely not.

A little further thinking took my mind back to Octomore, distilled on Islay by Bruichladdich.

The range of whisky that Bruichladdich produce has to be one of the most diverse portfolios of any single Scottish Distillery, Loch Lomond (link) also come to mind.

Take their core range offering.

The Classic Laddie Bruichladdich The Organic Bruichladdich Islay Barley Bruichladdich The regeneration project Grain

The Classic Laddie (link) while it hasn't be reduced to 40% ABV (Which Bruichladdich should be congratulated for, as so many distilleries introductory bottle to their range is often 40% where as the Laddie is 50%) it is an easy going tasty and completely unoffensive whisky, as easy as the Tomintoul 10 year old.

Their other offerings in the Bruichladdich (Link) range are all unpeated, but demonstrate the diversity of the range by having example of local grown Islay barley, purely organic barley and a grain whisky 'The Regeneration Project (link)' made with 55% Islay grown Rye.

Port Charlotte 10 Year Old

Then they do the Port Charlotte (Link) range which is their core peated offering, but not just peated, HEAVILY PEATED and usually with an age statement or a vintage.

Octomore 13.4 Octomore 13.3

Finally there is the big hitter, out of my price range (well over £100 a bottle) and a whisky I have never tried, we have Octomore (link)
While most distilleries have a heavily peated level of about 50 PPM malted barley, Bruichladdich's Octomore goes further, they range from around 96 PPM to 138 PPM - since the range is usually around 5 year old, more of that peat and smoke makes its way through the distillation and maturation process, therefore into your glass for you to enjoy. The Octomore range also have a local Islay barley edition helping with the diverse portfolio.

What also make Bruichladdich a more palatable option is they are accessible, they don't sell out in seconds which keeps them open as an option for exploring the current range, they don't continue to release exotic cask versions which makes it less of a constant hit on the bank balance (however expensive some of the range can be) unlike some distilleries who are forever releasing yet another limited variation with some bizarre back story, which for fans of those distilleries makes the bank balance shudder (unless you have a very very healthy balance).

Bruichladdich Logo

Bruichladdich is a distillery that I will honestly say I haven't explored, I have a bottle of the Classic Laddie which is fantastic. What attracts me to them is how openly transparent they are. In the time I have spent collating whisky bottle information across the Scotch Whisky landscape, Bruichladdich are quite possibly the most transparent and honest whisky brand I have come across. They get my respect and one that deserves a much more vocal fan base than I have witnessed, much more deserving than the other distillery (which Im sure you know to who I allude).

A love for Bruichladdich can be a love of whisky extremes.

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