Tag Archives: bruichladdich

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

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Islay Barley – Distillery: Bruichladdich. Region: Islay. ABV: 50%. Age: 6 years. 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.

Cheers, friends! – BO

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

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Bruichladdich Organic 2003 Review

Distiller: Bruichladdich. 46% ABV. Age: 6 years. Region: Islay. Price: $80.

I recently attended a Bruichladdich tasting event where head distiller Adam Hannett stressed the importance of terroir–the expression of a spirit’s geographic origins in its flavors–and the provenance of their whisky’s ingredients. Although this is apparent in a number of current Bruichladdich’s offerings that source Islay barley from single farms, this bottle, released in 2009, seems to be the one that kicked off this approach to distilling on Islay.

The Bruichladdich Organic 2003 was the first organic Islay single malt, and is made of 100% Scottish barley, from William Rose at Culblair Farm. Matured in both new and used American oak casks, there were 15,000 bottles released. On the nose are notes of freshly mowed grass and ground lemon rinds. The use of virgin oak is present on the palate with spice and vanilla combined with more citrus and also light floral notes. The spice continues on the finish.

What I enjoy most about this 6-year-old soothsayer is the glimpse it gave us of what was to come from this great distiller. Cheers! -JTR

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Bruichladdich Scottish Barley ‘Classic Laddie’ Review

Distiller: Bruichladdich. 50% ABV. No age statement. Region: Islay. Price: $50-60.

Couldn’t have more respect for Bruichladdich, but the Scottish Barley “Classic Laddie” does not show the distillery at its best.

The name recalls the much-loved Laddie 10 it replaced–a modern classic if there ever was one, and an amazing deal while it lasted–but the comparison does the current offering no favors.

Very dry nose, with barley and wet hay. The palate is medicinal, with iodine and band aid notes that mimic the entry of certain heavily peated Islays such as Laphroaig or Bruichladdich’s own Octomore, but the Classic Laddie is unpeated, leaving you with just enough of a reminder of the familiar Bruichladdich malt to leave you yearning for their better offerings. Long sourish finish. Water and time do little to sweeten the deal.

Sad to say, but my advice is to give this one a miss. Incidentally, if you’re anywhere near Greece, I’ve heard rumors the Laddie 10 is still on the shelves there. Maybe time to plan a trip? – BO

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Bruichladdich Black Art 4 Review

Distiller: Bruichladdich. ABV: 49.2%. Age: 23 years. Region: Islay. Price: $250-300.

The redoubtable but rather puzzling Black Art 4th Edition — the latest, and as it turned out, last mystery release by Bruichladdich master distiller Jim McEwan before his 2015 retirement.

As with previous releases, McEwan kept the details on what went into this a secret. All we know is that v.4 was aged in American and French oak, and the juice came from the very limited remaining stocks the distiller has from before its 1994 closing. (Bruichladdich reopened in 2001.)

Tried the 3rd edition last year and it knocked me out–marvelously rich, with dry fruit and endless complexity. This one starts out lovely, then hits with a sour, funky finish I couldn’t get my head around. Tried, waited, tried again, but it wasn’t for me.

Love the distillery, the mystery, the image–just not the juice this time around. – BO

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