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Apparently there is existing stock of fairly highly-peated Bruichladdich whisky and hopefully this will be released into the market to allow us consumers, who know best and have the final say, to try it.
No matter what becomes of the peating level Bruichladdich is already recognised as a very good dram and I have heard many claim that the 15yo is THE dram.
All of this business has done one thing however, intrigued me into making sure I try and buy lots of Bruichalddich before the experiments begin. After all what would you give to try one of the old heavily peated Bunnahabhains?
Lots I bet...
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I am not sure that current Bruichladdich is going to be a cult whisky, if there is a move to a highly peated style.
Amateurs are more looking for whiskies with a strong character, either peat or sherry, not for very subtle ones : Ardbeg, Black Bowmore, Brora, Macallan..
It is possible that Murray-McDavid makes a mix of classic and highly peated whisky to get a medium peated whisky. This is what they do in Caol Ila.
Or, as James Mc Ewans seems to be a very good technician, they will try to be the Springbank of Islay, producing 2 or 3 different styles of whisky.
[This message has been edited by jeanmarcdanquigny (edited 02 January 2001).]
I wonder if how old that extra peated Bruichladdich is? B. used to be 2 ppm phenol, after 1975, so it's probably older than that.
However, since B. isn't exactly a high profile brand, then I guess the release of a highly peated B. is a first step in a long series of marketing events to reposition the brand.
I won't be prepared to pay lots for it, since I feel B is too subtle a malt to age well beyond 25 years or so. Perhaps a small sample bottle, for its curiosity value.
You've successfully compiled a list including many of "amateurs" delights:
Ardbeg ,Black Bowmore,Brora, Macallan...
...but don' forget that those would be amateurs like Michael Jackson and Jim Murray and many many premium whisky-loving customers
I think it is great news that Murray McDavid is purchasing and planning to put Bruichladdich back in production. With a master like James at the helm, it is sure to be a success. While Bruichladdich has always been one of my favorites (for example see www.blackkbottle.com "Honeymoon on the Whisky Trails") more so for sentimental reasons, than for the best whisky, I think it has the potential to be one of the greats. Bruichladdich whisky with good wood management, incorporating some sherry casks and a mild degree of peating (e.g. 10 pmm phenols) would be an ideal dram. I do not think they should go the heavy peat route to start with since it is such a delicate
malt. Perhaps as suggested above they experiment with both styles. There may be niche somewhere between Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila.
I hope that Murray McDavid allow the new whisky to remain "Bruichladdich". I have always struggled with the idea of a 'gentle' malt. Take away the peat from a Lagavulin and what are you left with? Most probably something akin to a Jura or Bunnahabhain. The peat makes Lagavulin rough and attacking take it away and you are left with a maltier character.
The current fad of course is towards peaty whiskies and I feel that people are missing the point by tampering continually with ppm levels. It has only been in the last 30 years that distillers were able to dictate the ppm levels they wanted. A hundred years ago the kiln was lit a specific amount of peat was thrown on (almost certainly out of neccesity and not because a flavour profile was required) and the wind did the rest.
I really think that the forefathers of distilling are having a giggle in their graves when they see the fad for peaty whiskies or sherried whiskies (not to mention all of the wood finishes).
Anyway I love peaty whiskies but then I also love the occaasional 'straight up' bottlings that are available. Perhaps if Bruichladdich can restore some floor maltings and throw away anything with a computer chip in the distillery we will get a chance to see what whisky used to taste like. After all, making whisky is an art not a science.
I think we can expect some new bottles of the Bruichladdich. There also might be a reason to put a limited stock on the market to celebrate their new acquisition. And yes they have some heavy peated malt in the casks, I think that must somewhere around the sixty's when they where filled and perhaps some from the seventy's. Knowing Jim I have the feeling that we can expect some beautiful productions, and I do believe that they change the style a little bit, but I don't think to much in the peat level.
Well David I wish all the best for the new year and hope to see you again someday.
I don't know what the future will bring to Bruichladdich but I am very happy to hear of its purchase by Murray McDavid. I went to the distillery this past summer. This was my first visit to a distillery in mothballs and it was one of the saddest sights I have seen. The equipment in disarray, no malt brewing and no distillate in the spirit safe. I felt I was viewing a tragedy in progress. I hope my next trip to Islay will be enhanced by seeing Bruichladdich in production. I am sure whatever level of peating is decided upon will produce a far better whisky than was produced there last summer.
I must play Devil's Advocate.
"I really think that the forefathers of distilling are having a giggle in their graves when they see the fad for peaty whiskies or sherried whiskies (not to mention all of the wood finishes)."
Perhaps, but we are very fortunate to have such a wide and varried selection to offer consumers who want something more/different than their grandfathers scotch.
"and throw away anything with a computer chip in the distillery we will get a chance to see what whisky used to taste like. After all, making whisky is an art not a science."
Although I am generally against modernization it's in ugliest form, that is in terms of depleting human resources and replacing them with machines... But distilling is both an art and a science. Allow me to explain.
In the beginning, distillers took a very basic concept and expanded on it. After time, and most likely by chance, they found they could alter the taste. After more time, through science, they found they could alter any element of the whisky.
Now, with science, and in combination with older methods, quality and consistency can be assured (gas chromatography testing, phenol levels) but at the same time we can also use older methods of production, such as hand turned floor maltings, traditional washbacks and spirit cooling etc... to ensure that history, and a tried and true method of making malt can be preserved.
I have always maintained that computers, technology should augment, improve upon, add to something, never replace it.
I work in an elite boarding school. Here, Technology is used in Academics not as a replacement to a textbook, or a teacher, but it is used to spark discussion and research.
Use the computers to anylize the product, use a computer to standardize the recipe, but I contend that the original methods should also be preserved where possible. It is my understanding this is being done at Laphroaig and Bowmore. Although many thing have been computerized, both maintain a maltings and have stillmen guiding the spirit. It is sad to see many distilleries using computers, down to one man operations. It is also sad to see older distilleries with DECORATIVE PAGODAS... Some built 75-100 years ago, but never have smelled peat smoke...
Computers aren't the only decption to be angry about. In certain places they are an aide, in others, a hindrance.
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