I realised recently that I hadn't tried anything from Bruichladdich following the reopening of the distillery under the current owners and managers. Generally I like to get a feel for a distillery by trying something from its own mainstream product line instead of some independent weird and whacky finish. That's difficult with Bruichladdich, they bottle all their own weirdness.
So, what is really representative of this distillery's output?
I am currently sipping some Fifteen which is rather nice if unremarkable. Are the Ten, Twelve and Seventeen along the same lines?
When I say unremarkable I don't mean there is anything wrong. It is definitely worth the money, it is smooth and sweet and one of those deceptively easy-drinking fireside malts which could result in sleeping in the chair and missing the next day at work. I just wouldn't rush back and buy another bottle.
the 10 - no longer produced
12yo - now a second edition and not truly reflective
15yo - again, second edition and now a finsih (might have been a finish before, cant remember)
20yo - again, finishes
17yo - not a finish, and i feel a true representation.
although, this whisky will be from the previous owner, the only stuff made by and bottled by the current owners will be the likes of PC5, waves or rocks.
How would the Laddie fans rank these expressions: Infinity, WMDII, 3D, 3D2, 3D3, Infinity II, 15yo, 15yo 2nd Ed., 10yo, Links Turnberry, 1989 Vintage Cask (Full Strength), 20yo Flirtation, 1973 Vintage?
Damn, there's a lot!
12 (A little gem and a fine introduction to the core range)
15 (first or second editions)
For a little more:
PC5 (OMG...if it is this good now...)
17 (Proably the purest representation of the distillery style)
Infinity 1st edition (A stunner)
You could always try one of the "Wee Laddie" tasting packs as an introduction. They are readily available.
The "house character" of Bruichladdich is an underlying fruitiness, probably passion fruit and this is evident in all the drams I have tried, apart from the 1986 sherried bottlings.
What would I recommend?
The "Waves" as mentioned above is a very good and reasonably-priced dram, but it is quite a young dram and thus, quite different to the older and smoother 14-15 year olds.
At 7 years old, Waves still offers lots of that passion fruit, but it is a wonderfully spicy dram, very tingly on the tongue and very alive.
The Links series and also the WMD II are all 14 year olds and are excellent. If you like the "15" you are certain to enjoy these too.
There is another "special" called Rocks:
This seems to have two very different bottlings, albeit with no differentiation in name, packaging or lebelling.
When this was first introduced, it was only available in the Morrisons supermarkets in the UK. I bought three bottles on a trip to the UK and they were all a very light coppery colour.
These were also wonderful to drink - quite like the Waves.
After a while "Rocks" became available on the open market, but the whisky in the bottles was a much redder colour.
Although I haven't tried this bottling, I have heard more bad reports than good ones about it.
The PC5 is a great dram, but very strong at just over 60% and quite hard to get hold of, unless you are prepared to pay stupid money for a bottle.
I have seen people asking around 140 GBP on Ebay UK!
The initial selling price here in Germany was around 45 GBP!
The first "3D" Peat proposal is a fantastic whisky and my favourite of the 3D range so far.
I personally didn't care too much for the 3D2 - Mòine Mhòr, it just seemed lacking in something.
The 3D3 (Norrie Campbell Tribute) is another very good, very peaty whisky. It is extremely soft and gentle, but has tons of pure peat per glass. I have said that 3D1 (Peat Prop.) was my favourite 3D, this one is quite different, with more peat and much softer, but it comes a very close second to 3D1 for my palate. Although I am sure there are many who would prefer this one.
I hope this helps,
The 1970 would be a great one for you if you can (A) find it and (B) afford it !
Look out for some of the Murray McDavid bottlings or even a G&M 1988 CS , i've found vintages from 1988 / 1989 / 1990 to be very good from Bourbon Casks . The 20yo 1st or 3rd edition are very good as well .
The WMDII-Yellow Submarine is also worth a try .
On the more expensive front the Legacy 1 and 2 are superb .
Sorry, but the XVII, G&M CS and especially the Flirtation are a bit too pricy for something untested. If I'm paying over £40 a bottle I like to go with something I know will meet with approval from my second-class Frodometer which tends to mean Glen Grant, Glenmorangie, OMC etc.
i was in a shop today and got one for £20, along with an old talikser for £20 (the type with the old map label and gold sticker, i think two or three editions ago)
you can find them from time to time hitting about in shops.
The finish reminded me of raw pastry!!!! But over all I found sweetness, saltiness and floral notes with a touch of heat to it. A very nice malt indeed.
Its stopped production now [I have four bottles left that I plan to sell later this year] but you can still find it in the shops for around £23.
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