Archive for BruichladdichBlog

Cooking with Gas

I see that Bruichladdich is finally starting to benefit from their pioneering biogas project. I covered this about a year ago, when I was much more active on this blog. They essentially take the waste vegetable matter from the malting and distillation processes and use anaerobic digestion equipment to generate gases (like Methane, presumably) that they can use to generate electricity. Since this is a very green project, I bet they aren’t using a boiler-type system to convert the gas to electricity; I suspect a fuel cell.

BTW, Bruichladdich is using the Lomond still I mentioned in that story to make gin: Islay gin. I’d like to try some of that…. I really love their “because we can” attitude — are we positive that Bruichladdich isn’t based in Silicon Valley?


A New Link for German Bruichladdich Lovers

Thanks to Holger Wendt for reaching out to me. He runs an online whisk(e)y retailer in Hamburg, Germany:

Kontakt (English translation by Google)
Inhaber Herr Holger Wendt
Julius-Vosseler-Straße 81
22527 Hamburg, Germany

I appreciate that he has linked to this blog from his Bruichladdich Whisky site (note: his site is written in German!), and I encourage all my German readers to visit his site. BTW, if you want to know what his site looks like in English, here is a translation by Google.

Stills, Waste and Other News

In late 2009, Bruichladdich released the fourth (and final) Port Charlotte whisky: It’s 8 years old and is bottled at 60.5% ABV (cask strength). The name of this expression is “Ar Dùthchas” and it honors the long history of human habitation on this island (it literally means “land of our heritage”). PC8 will be available in the US no earlier than mid-2010 (presuming that this year will be like past years…), with 2500 cases having been released for worldwide distribution. Readers in the UK can already buy it.

You’ll remember that Port Charlotte is heavily peated (40 ppm), a description that was apt when it was first distilled on 23-Oct-2001, though the “peat explosion” of the first decade of the 21st century has seen Bruichladdich produce 125+ ppm whisky (known as Octomore; there have been several releases at different stratospheric peating levels), while Ardbeg has released the 100 ppm Supernova.

In other news, Bruichladdich has installed an unusual Lomond still (the spelling might be “Lomand”…) for undeclared purposes (though their press release did mention that Jim McEwan has designed some enhancements for it). It should be obvious to the most casual observer that the Bruichladdich team has enthusiastically embraced whisky production in all its forms. We’ll have to wait and see what they produce in this new/old still.

Bruichladdich has also taken a further step toward sustainable operations by installing an anaerobic digester device that will convert spent barley into fuel to generate electricity, possibly heating water for mashing and/or directly fueling their stills.

Bruichladdich has made admirable strides in producing a 100%-Islay product, including providing a reason for Islay’s barley farmers to grow organic grain. Now they are trying to make their whisky “green” by reusing/consuming their waste products. If their experiment proves successful, their initial capital outlay will create benefits in reduced operational expenses downstream. The whisky business creates a lot of organic waste products and it would be excellent if they could be turned into a local source of energy instead of just…wasted.

Welcome to the TouBB Blogroll: Abbey Whisky

Abbey Whisky, a specialist supplier of rare, collectable and exclusive scotch malts has an online presence, delivering very fast and secure UK and International delivery direct from the heart of Scotland.

If you try them out, please comment here and share the love!

I Got My PC7!

I’m still afflicted with a cold, so my taste buds won’t appreciate the subtleties when I do a vertical tasting of the PC5, PC6 then PC7. I’ll give it at least a week, presuming I don’t pick up any more germs on this trip.

For my own records, here are “just the facts” for the Port Charlotte range so far:

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 5yr

  • Name: Evolution
  • ABV: 63.5% (cask strength)

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 6yr

  • Name: Cuairt-Beatha (in English: “Walk of Life”)
  • ABV: 61.6% (cask strength)

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 7yr

  • Name: Sin an Doigh Ileach (in English: “It’s the Islay way, and may it never change”)
  • ABV: 61.0% (cask strength)

I was talking to my liquor supplier (Ken Chalmers at Beltramo’s) who told me he heard that the PC7 wasn’t quite as good as the PC6. The few online reviews indicate that it’s a very good dram (well, maybe it’s indeed not quite as good: The PC6 was spectacular, after all!). Ken hasn’t had the PC7 yet, so maybe I’ll share some of mine with him.

I’d be curious to see what Jim Murray thought of it, since he really liked the PC6 but I can’t find out until the 2010 Whisky Bible is available in the USA. 😦 I’m toying with the idea of ordering a signed copy of the Whisky Bible, direct from the UK, but that would almost double the cost. Worth it? Dunno…. Jim Murray’s signature is free (of course!), but the £10.99 price (about $18) — plus shipping — is much more than the cost in dollars, probably $16. And I don’t pay for shipping since I am a member of Amazon Prime.

Finally, the word on the street still is that the PC8 will be the last of these limited release annual bottlings of Port Charlotte. I predict that the Port Charlotte expression will initially be an 8yr and will be in regular ongoing production. I expect that the folks at Bruichladdich will hold back some of each year’s production for experimentation and aging beyond 8 years. That’s just based on my understanding of their history and their penchant for experimentation. Given the enthusiastic response to Port Charlotte so far, and given the success of the renewed brand, I expect great things.

Hurricane Bill Heading for Islay

Well, Bill will be a sub-tropical depression, not a hurricane anymore, by the time it gets there around noon on Wednesday 26-Aug-2009. Still…watch out for wind and lots of rain! Depending on the storm’s track, BowmoreBruichladdich and Kilchoman could get hammered since they are on the west side of Islay.

Luckily it’s hitting Islay during the quiet Summer months when most distilleries are not in production.

Barrel-Aged Beer at The Refuge

Tonight I had dinner at The Refuge in San Carlos, CA. I had the pleasure of drinking a fine Belgian-style beer from Maine that was matured in ex-Bourbon barrels: Allagash Curieux.

The aromas of the Bourbon came through nicely. I really liked this beer! Here is the brewer’s description:

Allagash Curieux

In October of 2004, we released the first beer in our series of Barrel Aged beers, Allagash Curieux. To make the Curieux (French for “curious”), we age our Tripel Ale in Jim Beam barrels for 8 weeks in our cellar. During the aging process in bourbon barrels, the beer is totally transformed, and many new flavors and aromas develop. Most notably, the beer picks up soft coconut and vanilla characteristics…and also a hint of bourbon flavor!

Available in: 750 ml bottle and 5.17 gal kegs

ABV: 9.5% – 10.5%
Original Gravity: 1080
Recommended Serving Temperature: 55°F
Recommended Cellaring Temperature: 55°F

This was a strong beer in terms of ABV, so I only had the one. The flavor profile is light and I’d probably seek it out again when the weather is warmer. Tonight I dined outdoors and it was in the low 50s (Fahrenheit!), so it’s not exactly Summer (or even Spring) here, yet.

The next time I’m in Durham, New Hampshire (maybe in June…), I will definitely drive the one hour North to Portland, Maine to visit the nice folks at Allagash. I am very interested in the interplay between whisk(e)y and beer, so I feel like this trip is mandatory!