The food was awesome, by the way! We had ourselves a feast. Todd was roasting oysters on the bbq. Others were eating the slimy, raw kind. There was a shrimp dip that I was tempted to take a handful of home in my pocket. Aly's soup lasted all of ten minutes. It seems that Todd got none of that. Sorry Todd.
Oh yeah. We tasted some whisky too. This was a comparison of 10 year expressions from Bruichladdich. We had old whisky (bottled by the previous owners), old whisky (in barrels at time of 2001 purchase and bottled by new owners) and new whisky (distilled by new owners).
10 year - one of the old ones 43% ABV
-Vanilla and wood smell
-Tasted a tinge of citrus
-With water - starts sour
-Moves to oak, very little sweet
10 year - older one than first- possibly '80s 40% ABV
[Todd says "smells like Ponderosa Pine]
-Smells of cinnamon bun to me
-Tastes almost doughy like a dessert - sticks to tongue like cinnamon
-With water - removes the sweetness
-Trails light wood
10 year Old Whisky/New Bottle (old whisky/new owners) 46% ABV
(barrels are from Buffalo Trace)
-Very light smell like last one - not quite as sweet and woody
-Creamy, not as sweet, light wood almost pine
-With water turns bitter/sour
-Trails quickly with no aftertaste
'The Laddie Ten' 10 year New whisky from the new owners 46% ABV
-Smells briny/salty with tinge of leather
-Warm and creamy like cinnamon but not sweet
-Trails like hot dough
-With water starts with tinge of sour
Didn't enjoy this as much as the others.
Bruichladdich 20 year 46% ABV (Thanks todd!)
-Tastes creamy, slightly bitter
-Smells like vanilla
-With water gets bitter
My taste buds were fried at this point. I'll have to try that one again (hint, hint). I couldn't really taste it.
This comparison was one that spanned different decades of distilling. We all wonder what the effect of the barrel treatments had on the whisky before that type of thing was made illegal in the 1980s. Paxarette was used in all barrels from all the distilleries, apparently. (Here's where I sound all official and cite a source.) In the Whisky Advocate, Spring 2012 issue, pages 82-84, a brief history is given of the commonplace usage of this 'barrel treatment' which must have imparted the sweetness in the whisky. In it are two kinds of sherry, wine concentrate (fructose), Vino De Color and a "neutral wine-based alcohol." This could be a great thesis for a master's degree in whisky distilling. The hard/impossible part would be finding old whisky to make the comparison, unless money was no object, I guess.