Monday, May 14, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #81

OddBins Wine Fair
Business Design Centre, Islington

May 12-13, 2007


Welcome to week 17, and what a week it was! Last week I broke the story of the (unfortunate) discontinuing of Jon, Mark and Robbo in most markets on the Scotch Blog, and just in time, too; official word emerged from the company only a few days later. Additionally, Dr. Whisky made the news in Episode 91 of Mark Gillespie's amazing Whisky Cast. Thanks again to Kevin and Mark, and if you don't read and listen to them yet, you really ought to.

Have mates in town and spent the day with them yesterday at the OddBins Wine and Spirits Fair. I attended this fair twice when I lived in Edinburgh and have always loved this event. For my money and time, it beats most of the other specialty wine and spirits shows for a few key reasons: Fewer pompous whisky or wine know-it-alls, even though there are many knowledgeable people, they just don't have the attitude. There is great variety on offer to taste from Armagnac to Zinfandel. In terms of whisky, at this event the independents get their due chance to make an impact on those new to whisky (Bruichladdich, Benromach, Compass Box). And finally, as any fair (WhiskyLive) is a marketing write-off for the exhibitors involved and thus shouldn't be used as a cash cow, the super value £20 tickets to the OddBins Wine&Spirits Fair all goes to charity. Terrific.

We attended a Bruichladdich Masterclass with Donald MacLellan and 'special guest' Gregg Glass(Compass Box). Given the throrough workout our palates received throughout the day, these notes are NOT intended to be final or even (necessarily) accurate. But we did learn a few interesting things about the distillery and about casks:

Bruichladich was bought for £6,500,000, 6million of which was just for the matured/maturing stock.
Casks aren't made to yield flavour, or rather, are not specifically designed with that in mind, rather, they are made to be sealed and hold their contents.
Additionally, today, around 95% of new fillings are going into bourbon casks, and the % of sherry casks is diminishing annually. Both of these facts demand discussion, but perhaps that is for another post.

Bruichladdich 12yo, Second Edition
Bright, light flavours. White wine, gorse, hops, honey. Bourbon-y
Peppery effect in the mouth, vanilla, roobios tea, red plums

Bruichladdich 13yo, Reciato Cask
Cherries, red grapes, oats, cocoa and peanuts.
Hard character, with an organic souring note off the top. Unripened fruit, bitter. Stereotype whisky to the uninitiated. Not for whisky newbies.

Bruichladdich 15yo, Second Edition (1st tasted in Malt Mission #29)
Peaches, prunes, sweet potato, red peppers. Hot in the nose, significant prickle.
Rich in the mouth, chewy, mustard seeds, chewing tobacco, peach pie. Again, pretty hot.

We also tried we samples of all(?) the different makes Bruichladdich produces. It was fascinating and, surprisingly, many were VERY drinkable and flavourful. PX4 had tons of flavour and could be consumed comfortably in tiny sucking sprays, if you know what I mean; like drinking hot tea.

More from (earlier in) the fair tomorrow.

Malt Mission #80
Malt Mission #82

Malt Mission #83
Malt Mission #84
Malt Mission #85

Malt Mission HOME

No comments: