The more approachable Octomore with balanced smoke and butterscotch notes.
The Bruichladdich Distillery is very impressive. In 1881 the Harvey brothers — who came from a Whisky family dynasty — built a cathedral-like, state-of-the-art Victorian still house with unheard-of six-meter tall stills. After being closed for a short period between 1994-2001, the distillery was brought back to life using pretty much the same 100 year old equipment by two London Wine merchants, who believed that terroir matters. They proudly practice slow fermentation and slow distillation using traditional wooden vats and huge washes made from towering Douglas Fir. The distillery produces non-peated Bruichladdich Single Malt, Port Charlotte which is peated in the classic Islay style, the heavily peated Octomore, and The Botanist Islay Dry Gin.
Bruichladdich Octomore 11.1 is the work-horse of the Octomore line this year. It’s got plenty of smoke at a phenol rating of 139.6 ppm. That’s just about as low a phenol level as you get with Octomore Single Malts and makes it a great entry point with more of the fruit and butterscotch notes rising up through the smoke. But it’s also bottled at 59.4% ABV which is darn near cask strength so it’s not for the weak of heart. And while all of the Octomore versions are limited editions, this one has the most availability. But remember, ALL of the Octomores sell out each year, so wait not.
Bruichladdich is darned hard to say correctly. The trouble is that the "-ich" in Scots Gaelic is sometimes pronounced as a hard "k" and sometimes it’s silent. And in "Bruichladdich" there’s one of each. Say it this way: "brook - laddie" and you’ll be close.