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Laddie 10 Second Edition Review

Distiller: Bruichladdich. Region: Islay. ABV: 50%. Age: 10 years. Price: $60.

The First Edition of the Laddie 10 was the kind of never-fail daily dram I wish I’d bought a bunker-full of. Alas, it’s long gone…and the no-age-statement replacement, the Classic Laddie, has only been, for my money, a partial substitute.

But with the arrival of Bruichladdich’s new head distiller, Adam Hannett, we have the very welcome arrival of the Laddie 10 Second Edition. It flew off the shelves at K&L Hollywood, but I was lucky enough to snag a bottle first.

The proper way to taste this unpeated Islay would be side-by-side with the First Edition, but having long since finished that, I tasted it alongside the NAS Classic Laddie.

Age-stated whiskies and their NAS replacement are always fun comparisons. (See our side-by-side of the Hibiki 12 and the NAS NAS Hibiki Harmony, for one example.)

So how do these stack up? Let’s start with the new Laddie 10. In short, it’s as good as I remember the last one–if not a touch better. Toasty nose, with roasted almonds, marzipan, a seesaw between milk and white chocolate, and sweet oak. Some rich Syrah cask influence (20% of the malt is finished in Syrah casks, I believe), and (call me crazy) a slight whiff of jicama.

The palate is potent, concentrated, dense. Raspberry jam. Brown butter. Nice tannic backbone of barrel char. Longish finish, on the dry side, with charred marshmallows. Immediately I was wishing I’d picked up two of these. A tough act for any NAS to follow.

The Classic Laddie has an immediate family resemblance, but seems the less mature of the two. It’s a touch lighter in the glass–pure gold, without the 10’s orangey tint. Perhaps that tint is the Syrah in the 10, as there’s less of that on the nose with the Classic. Similar toasty marzipan on the palate, but a bit grainier, with a touch of raw oak that’s not in the 10.

There’s that raspberry jam on the palate. Some butteriness here too, but less depth, less integration than the 10. Ground ginger and lemon pith on the finish, with a touch more sourness than I’d prefer.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Classic shows up just fine on its own, but suffers a bit by comparison with the 10–which I consider an unalloyed success. Now I’ve got to do a side-by-side w that long lost First Edition!

Slàinte, friends! – BO

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Valentine’s Day Gifts for Whisky Lovers

All right, guys and gals. It’s around the corner, and flowers and chocolates aren’t going to cut it.

For the whisky-lover in your life, we’ve got three can’t-miss gift picks. And if your beloved isn’t already a whisky-lover, these should make one out of them.

Bruichladdich Wee Laddie Tasting Collection

Three core offerings from one our favorite Islay distilleries, and one of our favorite distilleries, period. This tasting pack includes 200 ml bottles of Bruichladdich’s Classic Laddie, Islay Barley, and Port Charlotte Scottish Barley. A great introduction to the one of the most interesting distilleries out there, and a great preview for a row of exciting Spring 2017 releases coming from Bruichladdich’s new head distiller Adam Hannett. (More on both soon.)

Available at most well-stocked retailers who carry Bruichladdich, and online here.

Benromach Tripack Gift Set

Are you noticing a theme here? Benromach is a tiny Speyside distillery owned by Gordon & MacPhail, making “1960s style” (very lightly peated) malts that for me are old-school in all the best ways. This gift set has 200 ml bottles of their flagship 10-year-old single malt, their Peat Smoke, and their Organic bottling. (Our reviews here.)

This may be the trickiest of our picks to find, but if you happen to be in the L.A. area, they’re frequently carried by our friends at Bar Keeper in the Silverlake neighborhood.

Glenmorangie Collection Gift Pack

Last but not least, a fine introduction and/or refresher from a staple distillery for any single malt-lover: Glenmorangie. This pack has 100 ml bottles of four core offerings from the honeyed Highlander: the Original, the LaSanta, the Quinta Ruban, and the Nectar D’Or. For those who like the sweeter side.

Widely available at better liquor stores.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours, friends! Slàinte! – BO


Bruichladdich Octomore 7.4 Virgin Oak Review

Distiller: Bruichladdich. Region: Islay. ABV: 61.2%. Age: 7 years. Price: $250.

One word could sum up the Bruichladdich Octomore 7.4 tasting event I attended in Chicago: unforgettable. Islay-born and raised head distiller Adam Hannett was in my home city to launch the United States arrival of the newest Octomore–the 7.4 Virgin Oak.

I’ve been drinking Octomore since edition 1.1, and have experienced the bold innovation that has been showcased in each subsequent release, but the 7.4 takes Octomore to a whole new place. This is a bottle of superlatives suited for the adventurous.

This inaugural 7-year-old release is bottled at 61.2% ABV, with 25% of the liquid matured the full seven years in French virgin oak casks, and 75% matured three years in classic first-fill bourbon casks, then 2 years in virgin oak, before a final 2 years again spent in first-fill bourbon casks.

The 7.4 has a familiar nose of powerful smoke, which you’d expect with it being peated to 167 ppm, but that’s where the familiarity ends. Unique sweet BBQ notes from the virgin oak reveal themselves and balance the smoke. On the palate the sweetness transitions to lovely dried fruits with rich oak and spice. The distinctive mix of sweet smoke and spice continue on the finish, and as the oak fades you’re left where you started, with lingering smoke.

This powerful Octomore is unlike any of its predecessors, and recommended for anyone looking to go where no Octomore has gone before. Cheers! – JTR

Buy Bruichladdich whisky online at Mash + Grape

Bruichladdich kindly provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.

Bruichladdich Laddie Classic Edition 01 Review

Distiller: Bruichladdich. Region: Islay. ABV: 46%. No age statement. Price: $60 (750ml, current release).

What’s better than a bottle of the Bruichladdich Laddie Classic Edition 01? The one liter version of it.

I’m sure glad I picked up a couple of this release when I was traveling abroad a few years back. It made a great addition to my growing Laddie collection. Though Baldo’s had mixed experiences with the more recent releases of the “Classic Laddie” (confusingly renamed from the initial “Laddie Classic,” and confusingly packaged almost identically to the beloved and long-gone Laddie 10), this first no-age-statement Laddie release is a beauty.

On the nose is salty ocean spray, orchard fruit, and earthiness. The creamy palate has interesting sweet and oak notes–like barrel-aged honey drizzled over a piece of salted caramel. The finish adds subtle smoke that reminds me of a smoldering campfire off in the distance on the beach.

Wonderful pour. Cheers! – JTR

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Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvée A Review

Distiller: Bruichladdich. ABV: 46%. Age: 16 years. Region: Islay. Price: auction.

The Bruichladdich First Growth Series is a collection of six 16-year-old releases (designated “A” through “F”) that have been finished in French oak barriques that previously contained Bordeaux wine.

This Cuvée A was finished for 18-20 months in barriques that held Pauillac wine from Chateau Lafite, and was limited to 12,000 bottles. Paulliac, interestingly, is not a grape, but a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdoc.

On the nose there are light floral notes mixed with wild berries and honey. On the palate, slight smoke is mixed with more subtle honey, pepper and fruity notes. Earthy notes predominate on the short finish.

Overall it’s an interesting dram and I would recommend trying it if you come across it, but as Bruichladdich rarities go, it’s not a life-changer. Cheers! – JTR

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Islay Barley Review

Distillery: Bruichladdich. ABV: 50%. Age: 6 years. Region: Islay. Price: $60.

There’s a special place in my heart for Bruichladdich, and always will be. My first taste of the dear departed Laddie 10, my first taste of the volcanic Octomore, an epic night with J.T. sampling oddities and rarities like the Bruichladdich Yellow Submarine, sipping the Black Art on a hotel balcony overlooking Italy’s Lake Garda with Thane out better halves…this endlessly innovative Islay distillery has been bringing me some of my most memorable whisky moment for years.

Every chance to try a new ‘Laddie is a pleasure. This 2008 Port Charlotte Islay Barley was no exception.

Bruichladdich takes barley provenance seriously. Their tagline is “terroir matters”–terroir being the expression of aspects of a specific place in the qualities of a wine or spirit.

The core of the 2008 Port Charlotte for me is an underlying creaminess that recalls the Islay barley Octomores, like the magnificent Octomore 6.3. It starts on the nose. Sour cream pound cake. A little candied lemon. Wild strawberry. A little fuzzy peat at the fringes, but very mild. Bruichladdich calls this “Heavily Peated,” but at 40ppm, it’s below Ardbeg’s usual 55ppm, and WAY below the Octomores’ 150-250ppm+.

The palate starts with some sweet peat, but it’s still restrained. Marzipan. Medium-light body, but reasonably substantial for its age (6 years). Strawberry shortcake. With a few drops of water, the peat comes alive, prickles. Campfire and graham crackers, balanced by flickers of citrus. The finish is pleasant but on the shorter side. Leaves you wanting more, and pouring more.

A very approachable young Islay, creamy and bright at once, with excellent balance. Bottled at a healthy 50% ABV and sold at a very fair $60. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Happy Thirsty Thursday, friends! – BO

A company representative graciously provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.

Buy Bruichladdich whisky online at Mash + Grape