Part one in a three parter centred on Bruichladdich – an innovative distillery sitting on plenty of jewels. These are Bruichladdich’s new “core” range – and for a distillery that has hundreds of expressions that’s drawing a line in… something, around something. Weirdly I hadn’t tasted this lot, despite kind of making of a big deal, personally, about Bruichladdich recently. They all have their place and they’re all rather good.
Thanks to Johnnie Stumbler for these samples.
Nose – Rich, gently spicy, some orchard fruit, preserved lemons and oak planks soaked in rum. Really (classically) luxurious, with a faint lash of smoke. Very lovely balance and great sweetness.
Body – A bit sharp, and angular following on from that nose where the spirit is demonstrating some youthful vigour. Still, very lovely balance and good sweetness.
Finish – Medium, good balanced sweetness – finally descends into bitterness and fire.
What's not good about it: Angular at first but grows on you. Finish a bit so-so.
What’s good about it: Good nose, loads of balance, beautifully made, great value. On the list.
Bruichladdich The Laddie 16 year old, 46 A+
Nose – Beautiful orange and peaches, great structure behind it, brightly waxed and backed by well balanced oak and raisins with a whiff of peat. Fresh, balanced and delicious.
Body – Charred, damp apple wood backing limited toasted cereal and some malt toffee with some sweetness and a hint of cep. Elegant, quite summery, a little firm, very good.
Finish – Medium, retains poise throughout, well balanced wood dominates towards the end.
What's not good about it: A bit austere compared with the rest of the range, with a sour/savoury note that’s slightly off-putting
What’s good about it: Much improved finish from the 10, fantastic fruity nose, great balance and rich malt in the body – it’s extremely good.Bruichladdich The Laddie 22 year old, 46 A+
Nose – The least peated of the three, with rich wax, fruit salad chews and a dusty tropical note of bananas and rum. Old leather armchair and dubbin.
Body – Sweet, smooth, then clear mashed malt – lovely but slightly watery cereal. Tropical back note returns, all in fantastic harmony.
Finish – Medium, balanced but a bit uneventful. More malt, waves of wood, good structure.
What's not good about it: A little bit meek. The watery cereal thing is a bit of an issue too I’m afraid – I can’t decide if its elegant or a fault.
What’s good about it: Beautiful nose, lovely fruit, incredibly smooth. Great balance, given its overall character.
So – equally good all three but different characters, and a shared DNA. To compare the three, on the nose the 10 is more bold, more Scotchy; the 12 more complicated, fruity and leathery; the 22 more tropical and waxy. On delivery the 10 is more modern, balanced and fresher; the 16 more wooded and structured; the 22 multi-dimensional and drying. I would recommend (and buy) all three but in terms of value for money the 10 is excellent. The nose on the 22 is just wonderful but I’m in two minds about the palate.