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It has been a few years since I have had the motivation and the inspiration to write a review for connosr. In the past, my limited reviews were mostly on expressions that had prior reviews and existing sentiments concerning their taste and overall quality. As, I have grown in my ability to decide what and why I appreciate a whisky, I feel that I am ready to beginning sharing my thoughts without others tasting notes as a guide or reference. Today I will review a whisky that I do not believe has been reviewed on connosr or any other sights. I hope to share my thoughts on other unique whiskys from my collection here in Guinea over the coming months. As always the discussions on this and other whisky websites have influenced my vocabulary and language and I truly appreciate all of the members that have made significant contributions to the knowledge and information base for whisky.
Todays reviewed bottle is the Bruichladdich Organic Scottish Barley, purchased by me at the Paris duty free on my way back to Guinea. The reviewed bottled is/was travel retail only, bottled at 50% abv, no coloring and NAS. This would normally be a moderate signal not to buy, but I wanted to see if the organic barley provided a thicker more unique distillate that might be able to make up for age. The aquamarine bottle is one litter witth approximately 50% consumed as i cannot see the interior due to shading of the glass. The bottle has been open since June 2015, my initial impressions were that it was closed and young, with a stroong alcohol bite and limited secondary and no tertiary flavors, due to very upfront active bourbon casks. Initial ranking would have been 82-84. This increased my dissatisfaction over the mediocrity of NAS/travel retail expressions.
I am very happy to say that now I really adore this whisky and one year of air along with playing around with water makes for an extremely fun experience. For this review the whisky has opened up for about 30 minutes in the glass.
Nose: Neat - Upfront seaspray and warm salty fizziness. This spray has taking over a nose that was dominated by vanilla and alcohol upon opening. In the background I get dried lemongrass, orange peel, mango, plum, blueberries, muskmelon, green apple, dried raisins, celery leaf, white pepper and a very interesting earthy chalky wet clay mixed with wet ash and very slight phenols such as an antispectic and old school fuzzy bandaid. Their are strong hints that this will be very oily in the mouth. Perhaps just a tad too much alchohol on the nose.
With water - I like to add 15% water to this for a different profile, I find that it tones down the sea blast, salt, white pepper a bit and brings out rose water, peonies and more muskmelon and wet clay. The phenols, ash and antiseptic are also toned down with water. Adding water weakens the intensity creating a more floral and bright profile.
Nose neat 22 with water 22
Mouth: Neat a thick oily viscious blast of sea spray, salt, ground white pepper from pendja, fizzy zesty lemons, beeswax and sour oranges. Moving into mandarins, melons while maintaining an intense oil and fizziness that fades into dark chocolate, dates, cloves, orange peel confecture. The finish is nice with dark chocolate and a very very slight enjoyable bitterness as it leaves the palate.
With water - The sea blast and oilyness are toned down with water to a more minty profile. It also losses the phenols becoming bright and fruity, the barley shines through here and their is a brightness akin to some of the lighter fruitier craft beers. The finish breaks up more with the edition of water, losing the intensity of dark chocolate and pleasant bitter taste and dissapting after the wet clay and celery leaf.
Mouth Neat 22 with water 21
Finish Neat 21 with water 21
Balance - This is a very interesting thick distillate with excellent balance and harmoney in flavor. Presently I find that mouth and nose flavors are very complimentary and that balance between nose and mouth is maintained even with the edition of water. This was not the case when first opening this bottle as flavors were only primary and intense. Now there is a beautiful spectrum of both subtle and intense flavors weaving their magic.
Balance Neat 23 with water 23
Overall scores Neat 88 with water 87
time in the bottle and attention in the glass have made this whisky work, I am pleased with the purchase. It does seem that the organic distillate is bigger and thicker and can work well by offering intensity at a young age. Bottle code P/140890 14/341 14:52 04 12 14
Unfortunately the Bruichladdich website does not provide the cask lineup for this bottle as they do with other NAS releases. I would imagine that it is mostly first fill bourbon with 10-15% refill sherry and maybe a couple of more obscure french wine casks thrown in.
What are your experiences with organic distillate or this whisky?