Bruichladdich The Laddie 10 Year: 46% abv
Background: This is a pretty exciting occasion for KCM. This will be our first Bruichladdich review, which is exciting for a reason. Bruichladdich, around since 1881, is an Islay distillery that chose not to take the path of Laphroaig or Ardbeg, and is classically non-traditional in their style. Bruichladdich is truly a craft distillery, producing a large number of variants of whiskies, with a limited number of mainstays. Most Bruichladdich’s are unique bottlings that last a short amount of time. This however, is a newer release in an effort to solidify Bruichladdich’s core range of offerings. With a unique, blue pastel color adorning the bottle and canister, this one is hard to miss. Along with that, it is bottled at 46%, is natural color, and un-chill filtered. You’ll find that most Bruichladdich’s are found in this form. This is also aged in Bourbon oak casks, and is NOT peated. That would be considered unusual for a lot of Islay distilleries. So let us find out what this bad boy is like!
Nose: The nose is strong and vibrant, displaying notes of oak, molasses, vanilla and caramel. The oak is fresh and intense, and coupled with a young, bold maltiness, makes this malt very compelling on the nose. In addition to the oak, a bit of cedar is also noticeable. There is an expected saltiness that really floods the aroma as the whisky starts to open up, and in addition is a very earthy, vegetal smell. There is a red apple note that complements some of the sweet notes in the whisky, with a slight instance of kiwi and green grapes. Despite the explicit mention of not peat in this malt, there is definitely a smoky, earthy peat-like aroma that emanates from this whisky. A little bit of cinnamon flavor in the nose adds to the spiciness. There is a little bit of honey that also becomes prevalent.
Arrival: There is sweetness and maltiness in the arrival, with a slight zest of peat and spiciness. This is a very balanced whisky, bringing out a wide range of flavors. There is a little bit of sugarcane, candy sweetness, and rum-like flavor leading into the body. Vanilla is also prevalent here.
Body: The body contains a good blend of maltiness, spiciness and peat flavor. There is some distinctive seaweed and pepper that can be tasted in the body. There is rum-like sweetness and honey in the body.
Finish: The finish has some sweetness, maltiness, and oak to it. There is a fantastic blend of molasses, caramel, malt and vanilla that contributes to the complexity in the finish. Along with this, prepare to find some yeasty, wheat-like flavor as well. There is a raw, peaty flavor in the finish. The finish does contain a little bit of apple to it. There is a lot of saltiness that also contributes to a beautiful sense of balance. There is a very vegetal flavor that comes into the finish.
Nose: There is a lot more maltiness, vanilla, and creaminess to it. This is starting to smell like a sugar cookie, in all honesty. There is more of an alcohol-like smell, with clove spice coming through that was not as obvious as before.
Arrival: The arrival is more sweet after adding water. The oak intensity has subsided, with a slightly pine-wood bitterness.
Body: There is more peat smoke in the body than there was before. There is a balanced blend of spicy complexity in the body, although the body is still a little shallow.
Finish: There is more spiciness in the finish, akin to allspice. There is also a bit more mintiness in the finish as well. There is also a tart, different cranberry flavor in the finish now.
Final Comments: For a first flagship ten year old, this whisky kicks ass! One of the most interesting aspects of this whisky is seeing how a non-peated whisky can be influenced by peat in the environment and peat exposure to the water. So distinctively can you find the salty, peaty atmosphere in this whisky, it is hard not to imagine yourself on the shores of Islay. This whisky is the definition of balance, complexity, and overall uniqueness. And if you don’t like the salty, intense complexity of this whisky, just add a little bit of water and let it sweeten up. This might not be a beginner’s whisky, but if you like a more vegetal, earthy, coastal whisky, this should be a staple in your cabinet.
Why you’d buy it: You just should.
Why you wouldn’t: Probably something to do with communism I imagine.