Wednesday, October 16, 2019

peachy keen

1 1/2 oz Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 Year Scotch
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Giffard Crème de Peche
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/4 oz Honey Syrup

Dry shake, pour into a double old fashioned, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with dashes Angostura Bitters, mint sprigs, and a peach slice.

Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured down to the Hawthorne to hear Bruichladdich's head distiller Adam Hannett present a talk entitled "Experience Octomore." Adam spoke about how the site in Islay was a purpose-built distillery founded in 1881 opposed to a farm-based one, and this distillery produced single malts for blends until it was mothballed in 1994. A group of whisky industry professionals had a vision of exploring the local terroir and striving for quality over quantity, and they were able to acquire the site from Jim Beam. The goal for Bruichladdich was to feature both unpeated and peated whiskies as well as to make parallel whiskies from barley sourced from local Islay barley farms as well as bulk barley sourced from the whole of Scotland. The conditions in Islay are tougher to grow barley, but the end result is more flavorful despite the lower yield of fermentable sugars by weight and the higher cost to grow the crops. With their Octomore product, they asked their malt company for a large shipment of peated malt that would be used as the only barley source. The malt company was concerned that there would be no consistency since the result varies by season and by batch; normally the level of peat smoke phenols is modulated by diluting it with unpeated malt. With this approach, Octomore became the world's most smoky Scotch through keeping the proof near cask strength, skipping chill filtration, and leaving out unpeated malt. What we got to taste were three variations of this 10th season of Octomore with my favorites being tied between 10.3 using local farmer James Brown's barley and aging for 6 years in first filled American whiskey casks and 10.4 using Scottish barley and aging for only 3 years in virgin French limousine oak casks. Indeed, 10.3 highlighted the beauty of the barley grown in tougher conditions on a single estate, and 10.4 had loads of dried fruit such as date and fig notes from the new French barrel.
Before Adam spoke, Hawthorne bartender Rob Ficks was making drinks from a small menu utilizing some of Bruichladdich's other offerings. The one I selected was the Peachy Keen subtitled "and I won't forget." Here, the Port Charlotte whisky's peat mingled with the mint on the nose. Next, the sip was an elegant malt, peach, and lemon combination, and the swallow hit the palate with peat smoke and peach flavors with a cinnamon finish.

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