I have been tasting two single malt barley Wisk(e)y’s for some time now. The idea was that I could put them head to head and see how wood would make a difference. I had set out to do so a while ago in another blog.

The first whisky is the Bruichladdich Classic Laddie, which is a combination of woods and previous content. You can find out about what goes into this dram by checking out the 16/048 composition online.

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This particular Classic Laddie 16/048 bottle consists off:

NO. casks

Year

Barley

Cask Type

8

2005

SCOTTISH MAINLAND

BOURBON USA BARREL 1ST FILL

8

2007

SCOTTISH MAINLAND

BOURBON USA BARREL 1ST FILL

23

2008

SCOTTISH MAINLAND

BOURBON USA BARREL 2ND FILL

4

2008

SCOTTISH MAINLAND ORGANIC

ISRAEL KOSHER RED HOGSHEAD 2ND FILL

3

2008

SCOTTISH MAINLAND ORGANIC

FRANCE BORDEAUX PESSAC LEOGNAN RED HOGSHEAD 2ND FILL

2

2008

SCOTTISH MAINLAND ORGANIC

FRANCE LOIRE SWEET WHITE HOGSHEAD 2ND FILL

1

2008

SCOTTISH MAINLAND ORGANIC

FRANCE BANYULS VDN RED HOGSHEAD 2ND FILL

10

2008

SCOTTISH MAINLAND ORGANIC

FRANCE RIVESALTES SWEET RED & WHITE HOGSHEAD 2ND FILL

8

2006

SCOTTISH MAINLAND

BOURBON USA BARREL 1ST FILL

5

2007

SCOTTISH MAINLAND

FRANCE BORDEAUX PAUILLAC RED HOGSHEAD 1ST FILL

4

2007

SCOTTISH MAINLAND

BOURBON USA BARREL 1ST FILL

4

2006

SCOTTISH MAINLAND ORGANIC

FRANCE BURGUNDY RED HOGSHEAD 1ST FILL

The second single malt barley dram is the Corsair Triple Smoke that is matured in new American White Oak Barrels. Three kinds of smoke are used when drying the malted barley. This should mean there is a strong wood but also a smoke influence in this dram.

To give an insight in how the two differ I made notes and put them side by side.

The m is for mouth (taste) and the n is for nose.

Head Sub Descriptors

Classic Laddie

Corsair Triple Smoke

A: Peaty 2. Smokey Wood Smoke

m

A: Peaty 2. Smokey Kippery

m

A: Peaty 2. Smokey Smoked bacon

n

A: Peaty 2. Smokey Smoked cheese

n

B: Grainy 1. Cereal Digestive biscuit

n

B: Grainy 1. Cereal Leathery

n

B: Grainy 1. Cereal Tobacco

n

B: Grainy 2. Malt Malted barley

n, rubbing in hands

B: Grainy 2. Malt Wort

n, rubbing in hands

C: Grassy 1. Fresh Wet/Cut grass

n

C: Grassy 2. Dried Hay

n

n

C: Grassy 2. Dried Tea

Aftertaste

C: Grassy 2. Dried Mint

n

C: Grassy 2. Dried Herbal

n

D: Fruity 1. Solventy Nail varnish remover

n

D: Fruity 2. Orchard Peaches

n

D: Fruity 2. Orchard Pear

n

D: Fruity 3. Tropical Pear-drop

n

D: Fruity 3. Tropical Pineapple

n

D: Fruity 3. Tropical Melon

n

D: Fruity 4. Citrus Orange

n

D: Fruity 4. Citrus Lemon

n

D: Fruity 6. Dried Raisins

n

E: Floral 1. Natural Rose

n

E: Floral 1. Natural Honey

n

n

G: Woody Extractive 5. Nutty Walnut

m n

G: Woody Extractive 5. Nutty Almond/marzipan

m

G: Woody Extractive 6. Vanilla Ice cream

n

G: Woody Extractive 6. Vanilla Toffee

n m

G: Woody Extractive 6. Vanilla Chocolate

n m

G: Woody Extractive 7. Spicy Clove

m

G: Woody Extractive 7. Spicy Ginger

m

m

G: Woody Extractive 7. Spicy Aromatic

m

G: Woody Extractive 7. Spicy Nutmeg

m

m

G: Woody Extractive 8. Caramel Coffee

m

G: Woody Extractive 8. Caramel Toast

n

G: Woody Extractive 8. Caramel Liquorice

n

L. Oily 2. Buttery Creamy

m

L. Oily 2. Buttery Butter scotch

n

Mouth effect 1. Astringent Drying

m

Mouth effect 2. Coating Oily/creamy feeling

m

Mouth effect 3. Warming Alcoholic burn

m

Mouth effect 3. Warming Fiery

m

Nasal effect 2. Drying

n

n

As one can see there is a difference in profile. If you don’t know the technique of dropping some drops of the dram in your hands like aftershave, rubbing it just about dry, and then smelling it, than please try. See the video below.

I did this with the classic laddie and it brought out the smell of the wash I smelled at the distillery and the grist of the barley!

The USA single malt is much more wood driven where the Bruichladdich first and refill bourbon barrels are much more malt driven tastes and nose and the Bruichladdich also includes some notes that came from the wine casks. This influence is there just like Adam Hannett said in the Laddiemp4 tasting not profoundly so. Please check out the YouTube of the tasting if you have an hour!

I could explain why the difference is what it is, but at this moment in my education of the chemistry behind whisky maturation I would probably make a fool out of myself! Lets just say new American White Oak used for Corsair is much more Oak – Vanilla – Spice – Clove oriented where the first and refill bourbon and wine barrels allow the malt – barley – distillation influence to come to the forefront in a more noticeable way.

What I got confirmed by putting this side by side is very very obvious to me now, but some time ago I wanted to see for myself. The influence of fresh new American Oak totally changes the way the dram matures, compared to first and second fill ex bourbon.

My next challenge would be to find a single cask Bruichladdich that is exclusively matured in New American Oak and compare that to a first fill single cask Bruichladdich. Same barley, preferably same distillation year too.

Just for fun I combined the two 50%-50% in one glass! The result is so – so …. it is interesting … The combination doesn’t work for me and 3 minutes is probably to little time to marry the two! Ha! fun though.

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50% of both
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