The next day after a trip to Finlaggan, the ancient seat of the Lord of the Isles (which I highly recommend to anyone visiting Islay, it’s amazingly cool), we checked out Bruichladdich. After the experiences at the other 3, we expected to get 1-2 drams, explore the distillery a bit, and then head to Kilchoman. instead, after talking to the bartenders for a while, they decided we were going to get more than just the standard 3 drams. We ended up trying 8 plus the Botanist gin (which is also amazing), and cancelled the planned trip to Kilchoman due to over-indulgence and the fact that taxis wanted to charge 40 pounds for a round trip. pro-tip: rent bikes on Islay. I’ve also included some pictures from Port Charlotte down the road, including some of the old buildings from the old Port Charlotte distillery! Finally, I added a couple shots taken on the drive back to glasgow from Kennacraig because the highlands are amazing. I know after a few drams you can’t taste as much, but these were shared between two people, so I maintain my assessments are objective and unimpaired, albeit short 😛
First up was the Classic Laddie, which I’ve had before.
Bruichladdich The Classic laddie – 50% ABV
- Appearance: Uncoloured
- Nose: Apple, malty, salty.
- Palate: Hot. Apple, sea salt, sweet sugar.
- Finish:Hot and salty
- Score: 78/100
- not as good as i remembered it. kind of hot and boring.
Next up is the Islay Barley 2009, made entirely from, you guessed it, Islay Barley. 6yrs old, ex-bourbon
Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2009 – 50% ABV
- Appearance: darker gold
- Nose: Salty, less apple, honey malt
- Palate: Much maltier than classic. Quite sweet and sugary. Spicy. Lots of sea saltiness
- Finish: spicy and salty
- Score: 83/100
- nicer than classic but still kind of boring. saltier which was nice.
Next is the PC 2007, which is aged in French Oak that previously held Eau de Vie from Cognac, France.
Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01 – 57.8% ABV
- Appearance: urine yellow
- Nose: Very sweet and sugary, dried fruit and prunes. Light sweet peat.
- Palate: Quite peaty. Salty and smoky. Dark fruit sweetness. Spicy oak and vanilla. Pepper, cinnamon.
- Finish: long and sweet with some peat
- Score: 86/100
- really nice. love the fruitiness of the eau de vie.
Then we got into the Octomores. The bartender originally was going to pour the 7.1, but when I mentioned I’d had it before, she pulled out the other 3 instead! We went in order, starting with the 7.2 which is 5 yrs old aged in Syrah casks.
Octomore 7.2 Syrah Cask – 58.5% ABV
- Appearance: very light yellow
- Nose: Malty, light.
- Palate: Very nicely peated. Not overly. Sweet smoke. Some fruity berry like character. Salty.
- Finish: Spicy salty and peaty. Long.
- Score: 90/100
- very nice, but not the best Octomore I’ve had.
Next up was the 7.3, Octomore of Octomore. All the Barley comes from the nearby Octomore farm and is 5 years old in ex-bourbon and finished in Ribera del Duera wine casks. Sounds cool and different. Looking forward to it
Octomore 7.3 Octomore of Octomore – 63% ABV
- Appearance: also light
- Nose: Fruit and sweetness. Red fruit. Slight salt. No smoke or peat.
- Palate: Quite sweet. Salty and fruity. Delicious. Lots of oak, sweet peat and smoke. Salted caramel. Smoked meat
- Finish: Strong and long. All flavours linger.
- Score: 92/100
- this was very different than the 7.2. the wine influence was quite apparent. Loved it.
Then we got a chance to try 7.4, a 7yr old aged in virgin european oak casks.
Octomore 7.4 Virgin Oak – 61.2% ABV
- Appearance: Much darker. Crazy. Virgin oak gives so much colour.
- Nose: Oaky, salty. Caramel and vanilla. Sweet. Little peat.
- Palate: Oak bomb. Almost tastes like cedar. Peat and smoke are there but take back seat. Sugary, vanilla. Almost chocolatey.
- Finish: long, woody and smoky.
- Score: 93/100
- crazy unique. Tons of woodiness but the other flavours complement it really nicely. Big fan
After this, we tried the Botanist gin both neat and in a G&T. we went outside to enjoy it in the sun before coming back in to buy some tablet (scottish extra-sugary fudge, and in this case, peated), and I got talking with the bartender again. I noticed the Laddie Eight and asked if it was a new bottling to replace the Ten. He told me about it and said he wasn’t a fan, especially with the Sixteen and Twenty-two sitting right next to it. I said I’d never had either and he looked visibly hurt because the Sixteen is his favourite whisky. He prompty pulled out the bottles and poured two more drams for us to try. Sixteen is ex-bourbon
Bruichladdich The Laddie Sixteen – 46% ABV
- Appearance: uncoloured
- Nose: oaky, vanilla, salty , fruity and sweet. Soapy but in a great way. Aromatic.
- Palate: Oak, vanilla, toffee, sweet barley character. Floral, honey, grassy. Citrus notes.
- Finish: Oaky, warm, sweet. Delicious.
- Score: 92/100
- fantastic dram
Twenty-two is also ex-bourbon
Bruichladdich The Laddie Twenty-Two – 46% ABV
- Appearance: uncoloured
- Nose: Oak, vanilla. More subtle. Honey, toffee. Caramel.
- Palate: Spicy, tons of oak, salty. Sweet. Vanilla, caramel. Same soapy character.
- Finish: long and salty
- Score: 90/100
- overall a bit more woody and not as well balanced.
Must say, the folks at Bruichladdich were amazing and loved to talk about the whisky with you, and not just spout tasting notes from the website. I wish we’d had time for a tour and will definitely spend more time there if we ever go back!