Forgive the delay in my latest post. I am back to intermittent Internet access and can’t update as frequently as I’d like. One of the blessings/curses of being where I am on the island. It’s secluded and beautiful, but not much in the way of phone or Internet access.
My last day at Bruichladdich – for the time being – was a wonderful lesson in how to appreciate whisky given to me by Jim McEwan himself. I spent the early part of the day taking a pretty difficult test. He presented a “nosing kit” to me which contained 54 small vials. Each vial had a distinct aroma to it. My job was to identify the aromas. It’s much harder than it sounds, especially as all the aromas started filling the room and blending together about halfway through my hour-long test. Still, I managed to finish in the top ten percentile, according to Jim. So, the size of my nose paid off. And it helps to know that I’m not just making things up when I nose whisky or wine. I actually know a thing or two.
We then spent part of the afternoon sampling some of Bruichladdich’s fantastic stores of casks. Jim offered me Bruichladdich’s much-talked about X4 — a quadruple-distilled single malt that is 80 percent alcohol. He told me everyone who tastes it can only say, “Wow” after their first exposure to it. So, my first words after tasting it? “Wow.” And I couldn’t stop laughing while I repeated that word over and over. But, there’s no other way to describe it. Well, there was a way that the BBC’s James May described it, which is best heard rather than repeated (the Bruichladdich segment is near the end of the episode): http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00h5vtj/Oz_and_James_Drink_to_Britain_Episode_3/
Jim also allowed me to sample some other Islay offerings from the cask, including a lovely 18-year-old Lagavulin that was the perfect warmer to a cold and windy day.
I’ll be returning to Bruichladdich on occassion to spend more time in the warehouse, which I just love. But in the next couple of weeks, I will branch out to some other island distilleries and write about those. Stay tuned, as well, for a couple of articles I’ll have appearing in some soon-to-be-named publications.