Whisky Review: Bruichladdich 1972 Japan Import System Aged 29 Years

Style: Fruity, Grassy and Spicy

Nose:
Begins with a platter of fruit banquet – Tropical fruits, melons, orchards, forest berries, a bit of everything. Sweet, clean and fragrant. In comes vanilla cream and peanut skins sewing into the spirit. Green grass growing from the back and reaching all the way to the top. Chilli water, elderflower and rose water brush. White pepper, limestone and barley giving a drier tail.

Palate:
Similar to what the nose has suggested. Abundant assorted fruits at the front, but more emphasis on bananas and peaches. Tropical fruits punchbowl simmering gently with agar agar. The sweetness wanes midway and releases more Bourbon cask notes – vanilla milk, honeycomb wax, sawdust, then turning into earthy taros, green grass, crackers, dried berries, five spices, spearmint and white pepper on the same level. Spice burning very slowly, herbal notes to finish.

Finish:
More boiled tropical fruits, earthy notes, malt biscuits, vanilla cream and cranberries lingering till the end.

Thoughts:
A rather complex make with a bright fruity start which then transmute into a contrasting, drier and earthy second-half. Technical and maybe slightly difficult to dissect, but there are indeed plenty of nuances left to be explored. Comparing to this “old-school“ Laddie to the modern ones, it feels the general DNA is surprisingly similar (Melon fruits, grassy, floral, malt), on the other hand, the modern ones seem to be more refined with less loose ends to tidy up, but the flip side might also mean that there are less side-notes/subtleties in the spirit. Pretty nice either way, if you ask me.

[49.3%|Original Bottling |1972 Distilled |2001 Bottled |Cask Strength |Aged 29 Years |242 of 404 Bottles |Non Coloured |Non Chill Filtered |Cask Number: 689]

☆+ [Recommended]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Bruichladdich Black Arts 1992 Edition 05.1 24 Aged Years

[48.4%・24 Years Old・Distilled in 1992・Bottled in 2016・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 12,000 Bottles]

Nose:

Somewhat of a damp setting, thick cream and salted caramel sauce with a slight suggestion of matchsticks.  Suspected wine cask influenced mushed berries seasoned with some salt and pepper as it later on grows maltier.

Palate & Finish:

Figs, blackberries and aged strawberry preserve, a highly curated profile from the alleged usage of wine casks without being particularly exciting, stickily sweet with some kick to it.

Earthy and rather drying, with the tannins causing just a slight scene.

Thoughts:

I remember having an early batch Black Arts 4 to 5 years ago that I thought was pretty attractive; I am afraid since then the series hasn’t really captured my imagination. The 05.1 is fine I suppose, not particularly memorable though.

I am not sure if Laddie Black Arts is still a thing for lads and lasses but I think Mr. Hannett may be better off creating something revolutionary.

✓ [Recommended if you like the distillery/style]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Bruichladdich Black Art 1989 Edition 03.1 22 Aged Years

Style: Sherry and Grassy

Nose:

Round, rich sherry signatures sided with baked tropical fruits. Black peppercorns, a whiff of gunpowder (not sulphur!), flint and minerals crushed and sprinkled on top of malt syrup. A touch of acetone, raspberries, cherry pie, pomegranate, heather honey swaying beautifully in the aroma. Subtle vanilla echoing at the bottom, sweet and comfortable.

Palate:

Rather sherry-driven on the first touch, sultanas, a wide array of red berries, blackcurrants, tawny, and roasted almonds blending together to give a fantastic weight of sweetness. Peppermint followed by some vegetal brushes – celery, fennel and even some onions forming a lower block. Light sprinkle of icing sugar on a chestnut tart, going a little bit earthy and starchy (?), taro malt to finish.

Finish:

Cherry puree mixing with potato starch. Ruby grapes, raisins – a sherry sweet finish.

Thoughts:

This actually turned out to be better than I first remembered, my impression back then was the structure was a bit loose with insufficient momentum in the spirit. Maybe I was being a bit too critical, wasn’t I? While the contents remained a mystery, this Black Art is undoubtedly driven and built on Sherry casks, then followed with some wine (I guess), then some Bourbon and maybe even a bit of Port, on the other hand vegetal notes carefully building underneath to complete the expression. Plenty of nuances going on, interesting. Not your usual dram I suppose, but overall it is pretty good.

☆ [Recommended]

[48.7% | Original Bottling | 1989 Distilled | 2012 Bottled | 12000 Bottles | Aged 22 Years | *]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Bruichladdich Rare Cask Series Bourbon: All In 1984/32

[43.7%・32 Years Old・Distilled in 1984・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 3,000 Bottles]

Nose:

Genuinely clean with thin layers of honey and minerals. Fresh strawberries and white peaches with some ginger flowers.

Palate & Finish:

A pleasing dose of stone fruits, red apples and pineapples; age revealing with the oak subtly lending a drying edge.

Smooth follow through with brushes of brown sugar and vanilla on oak as the stone fruits ooze out of the bitterness.

Thoughts:

Tasty and easy to drink, a good showing of fruits but it does fare a bit dry.

The marketing guru would focus on how this was bottled from the last 12 casks of the 1984 vintage..  but for me I am actually quite taken by how unadulterated it feels, a #nofilter of Laddies..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Bruichladdich Distillery Micro-Provenance Series Single Cask 1992 Aged 25 Years Exclusively Bottled for Hong Kong International Airport Duty Zero by CDF

Style: Sweet and Creamy

Nose:

Vanilla ice cream cake sided with cranberry and rhubarb sorbet. More summer berries, coconut milk and digestive biscuits insulating a layer of refreshing peppermint. Somehow this reminds me of the Redder Still, interesting… A touch of white chocolate, just the right amount of ginger shreds, sweet pineapple, while custard taking in some deeper oak towards the end.

Palate:

Glazed pineapple shining at the forefront followed by cranberries, pomegranate, Goji berries, ruby grapes and taking a hint of liquorice to give a secondary level of sweetness. A big vanilla wave smashes in and engulfed the fruitiness. Coconut oil mixing with custard, barley and walnut oak placed right underneath to the end.

Finish:

Barley and oak showing quite a bit of dryness, sided with faint cranberry notes.

Thoughts:

In many ways this reminds me of the legendary Redder Still, well, maybe not as good, but the style is quite similar. Positive wine-influenced red fruits with rich vanilla notes injecting plenty of texture and oiliness. Personally, I quite enjoyed the synergy between wine and bourbon elements in Bruichladdich – Sweet, luscious and creamy while there is some freshness built into the spirit, not many Laddies catch my eyes but this is certainly an enjoyable drop.

☆ [Recommended]

[49.5% | Original Bottling | Single Cask | 1992 Distilled | 2018 Bottled | Cask Strength | Cask Number: 16/159-1 | 76 of 264 Bottles | Barley type: Optic | *]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Bruichladdich Rare Cask Series Sherry: The Magnificent Seven 1986/30

[44.6%・30 Years Old・Distilled in 1986・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 4,200 Bottles]

Nose:

Some subtle farmy characters in play, brown sugar blanketing wee minerals and a tinge of herbal notes.  Crystallised honey and vanilla sugar brushed over pinewood as a intriguing woody incense burns in the background, slowly emitting aromas of molasses rubbed on oily barbecued brisket..

Palate & Finish:

Gooey figs and a hefty woodiness seasoned with honey and icing sugar, the rounded sweetness is substantial and elevated by minerals and sea salt, the hint of Ibérico saltiness swirls with essence oil from burnt oranges.

Soft brown sugar and toffee crisp in the finish, tailing off with some slightly earthy café au lait..

Thoughts:

The combo-casking of Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez really intensified the experience, making it a much more of a substantial affair with the two Sherry types complimenting each other.

A really well done Sherried Laddie in my opinion and a luxury to be able to gamble with the finishing like that.  Close to a two star..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Bruichladdich Rare Cask Series Bourbon: Hidden Glory 1985/32

[48.7%・32 Years Old・Distilled in 1985・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 4,200 Bottles]

Nose:

Somewhat char driven in a mix of honey and vanilla, pinch of sea salt to go with minerals, salted caramel, breakfast cereal and some cute bouquet fruits.

Palate & Finish:

Vanilla and custard apples, followed by a gush of honey, oak and peppery spices.  Sweet pineapples with some cinnamon and vanilla sugar seasoned strawberries as some minerals wash up.

Lingering notes of honey and minerals, just a subtle hint of brine in the background.

Thoughts:

Quite a pretty Bruichladdich in my view, even if it is debatable whether the double re-racking/finishing/ace-ing is entirely necessary.. there are noticeable benefits via the pleasing wine cask influence added but at the same time some costs are evident as well and not just in the purist sense..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Bruichladdich 1990 Sherry Cask Edition 25 Aged Years

Style: Herbal and Fruity

Nose:

Delicate aroma of red berries, floral candies, orange and lemon citrus, grass signatures actively mingling together. Round black plums, acidic overtone, red chilli heat, complex, but pretty well-toned. Wood smoke and dry spice roving underneath to give a slight herbal, almost ginseng edge to the spirit. Interesting.

Palate:

Herbal malt combines with red fruits, or rather, assorted fruits – Starting from red apples, plums, strawberries, oranges, kiwis, all the way to lemon and grapefruits clustering at the core. Fresh Chinese ginseng herbs surface again, soft bitter grassy touches. Toasty malt, red dates, battered cupcakes and cooked carrots at the back seat, a rather unusual profile we have here… Fruit confectioneries sinking lower and connects with earthy undertone to finish.

Finish:

Sherry-orange, like that’s a thing. More plums, tobacco leaves, Oloroso sherry signatures on their way back. More dates and red grapes. Sweet and savoury.

Thoughts:

Interesting profile, maybe I haven’t tried enough Bruichladdich yet. This is a bit funky, but funky in a good way. A relatively distinct herbal-earthy tone, and not often I experience so many different fruits in a Sherry-heavy (Fully matured in Oloroso + PX!) vat. Nice sweetness with decent depth, quite fun to play with.

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

[48.1% • Original Bottling • 1990 Distilled • 2015 Bottled • 1 of 6000 Bottles • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • Limited Edition • Travel Retail Exclusive • t]

-Esmond

Whisky Reivew: Bruichladdich The Laddie Valinch 09. Aged 22 Years Single Cask

Style: Sherry and Complex

Nose:
Elegant sultana entrance, floral fringes. Deep, vibrant grassy tone echoing from the core. Butter oil, cinnamon sticks lightly torched. Ginger slices, wood fragrance gently gleaming over a touch of strawberry jam. Finishes with fluffy vanilla honey.

Palate:
Soothing red fruits-barley opening on the palate. Beautiful floral tone filling up the spaces. Massive raisin chocolate rolling onto a grassy patch. Vanilla butter with a wink of mineral and seaweed notes. Malty finish with a cereal tail.

Finish:
Soft sherry tone goes on a while, semi-dry cereal malt binds with bright red fruit gummies and raisins to finish.

Thought:
Incredible balance we have here! I am generally not a big fan of whiskies fully matured in Pedro Ximenez sherry cask because I have seen too many spirits overwhelmed by the sweetness which in the end kills the spirit. But this is definitely a pleasant exception. Instead, the PX element here combines nicely with the Bruichladdich spirit, it adds nice sweetness, lifts the tone and allows complexities to unfold. Very impressive.

[50% • 2014 Bottled • 1992 Distilled • Original Bottling • Single Cask • Cask Number: 11/R10/130 • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • Bottle Number: 312 of 880 • Matured in Pedro Ximenez Sherry Cask • Distillery only release • *]

☆ [Recommended]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Bruichladdich The Bordeaux First Growth Series Cuvée F Pomerol Aged 16 Years

[46.0%・16 Years Old・Bottled in 2008・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

The oak is evident through out, but it’s in the comforting form of mellow vanilla with a sprinkle of pepper and match sticks.  There is a vague muskiness in the background with the wine fruits faintly popping out, seductive but sedated.

Palate & Finish:

Figs and prunes with a lemony edge.  It’s a typical wine cask matured whisky with its tannins and a slight vinegar note, the acidity allows more succulent black fruits to be brought out.

Finishes with the malt sipping out alongside a grassy note and hint of menthol.

Thoughts:

A wine cask matured whisky that resembles a wine cask matured whisky, what a surprise!

Probably the most gentle dram of the series, harmless fun really, which’s mostly what you want from a wine finish..

-Nicholas