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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The Future's Bright... The Future's 'Laddich!

Ever felt slightly caught out when trying a new whisky? These days, it's very easy to be swept away with the advertising puff or nostalgic rhetoric which seems to accompany many new releases. Bruichladdich have been no strangers to causing a stir with their new releases. Some have met with wide-spread acclaim, whilst others have been met with mixed feelings - the recent Octomore being no exception.

We recently did a side-by-side tasting of Bruichladdich's peated monster and Ardbeg's Supernova, which was a tough battle. whilst the Ardbeg probably won our hearts, the Octomore won the taste test and was clearly a supremely good whisky, peated to high heaven and in our opinion, unfairly criticised by some drinkers.

This brings on to the Octomore Futures release. bought to life in October 2002, just 800 cases of this, the first super-peated Bruichladdich were released rather unexpectedly late in 2oo8 and of course, sold out immediately. We've read a couple of slightly disappointed reviews, saying it was possibly bottled too early, so when we got to try some recently we wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Octomore Futures - Distilled 16th October 2002 - Bottled April 2008 - 46% abv - 80.5 ppm

Nose: Very floral. A lot less islay and more lowlands, with big hints of heather, lavender, butter and cinnamon. A touch of banana in there too. Vanilla and then the peat. Beautifully subtle peat. Lovely.

Palate: There is an initial hit of fire (hot coals) which gives way to strawberry jam, warm summer fruit crumble and open wood fires.

Finish: Burnt sugar, red jams and more of the coal dust. Long.

Overall: No need for water as it is only 46% and at 80 ppm peating, it gives plenty of room for the actual flavour of the whisky to rush to the fore. This is delicious. Hands up, one of the most interesting drams we've tried in this year. Everything you want: delicate peat and tons of summer fruits.

There are undoubtedly young elements to this bottling, which will rub some drinkers up the wrong way, but to our palates it stands up admirably. It will be interesting to see what a more mature cask tastes like- and hopefully there will be further opportunities for this whisky to develop and shine. All in all, the future looks bright indeed.