The Dream Dram
So what's in the Cask, and what cask is it in?
In The cask?
Jim McEwan about his creation: "As a distiller, of course I enjoy exploring what can be achieved with different barley types and peating levels. It’s what makes me tick. But from day one I also wanted to distil peated barley. Partly in homage to days gone by, but also to provide flavour variety as ingredients for future bottling. There are few distillers that have the freedom that I enjoy to create the various styles of whiskies that we produce. As Progressive Hebridean Distillers, we take our inspiration from the past and make it the future."
The Contents of this Cask was distilled on the 1st of September 2009 at Bruichladdich Distillery on the Isle of Islay. Mr. McEwan was in an experimenting phase and this Lochindaal had everything to do with his wish to resurrect the old distillery in the neighbouring village Port Charlotte. Old photo's and documents show that this was a peaty whisky by origin. Therefor the near germinating barley that was used for this cask was dried with turf to a specification of 50 PPM Phenol's. It's difficult to compare whiskies and the initial Phenol content of the Barley but as a reference:
Bruichladdich standard 10y: 3-4 PPM
Bowmore: 20-25 PPM
Coal Ila: 30-35 PPM
Laphroig: 40-43 PPM
Ardbeg standard 10y: 52-55 PPM
There has been somewhat of a Peat arms race in the last couple of years, resulting in extremely high phenol contents:
Ardbeg Supernova: 100 PPM
Bruichladdich Octomore: 167-208 PPM
As already stated these numbers are difficult to compare. The finished product depends on a lot of things. For instance: the height of the still will have quite an effect on what smokiness will remain in the end product. Theoretically a higher still will "filter out" more of the smokiness compared to a lower one. On average between 40 and 60% of the initial phenol's will disappear during the distillation process (no matter what distillery) But also during maturation phenol content will decrease.
The stills at Bruichladdich and the traditionally light Bruichladdich Classic malt are known for their Fruity and Floral notes, especially this combination of phenol flavours combined with the qualities of the stills at Bruichladdich is what makes this spirit so interesting for us.
Interestingly, the distillery that once shut down the Bruichladdich distillery in 1994 has provided the fresh Bourbon Barrels for this project: Jim Beam.
Cask Origin: Clermont Springs Distillery, Kentucky (Main distillation site of Jim Beam). Most of the wood used for the American Oak casks that is used is grown in the Ozark Mountains in state of Arkansas.
Type of Oak: American, aka "Quercus alba"
The star of the show: Cask 41 from Rotation 10/002, distilled on the 1st of September 2009