Whisky is supposed to be an unpretentious spirit, which can be enjoyed by all. There are few whiskies that stay in that category these days, as trend and collectors push prices ever higher. That is why I was keen to try the Bruichladdich range, as it seems to be great quality whisky that is priced in affordable ways, especially when you can buy 20cl bottles.
The Bruichladdich distillery was built in 1881 by three brothers on the shore of Loch Indall on the Western side of Islay. At the time it was a state of the art distillery, when many were more like farm buildings. The stills created were tall and thin, with the aim of creating a pure and original spirit. After many changes of ownership over the years since, little has changed and most of the original machinery remains in use today. This process creates an artisan spirit.
This second dram of the three that we bought at the same time is another unpeated malt, which is created with Islay barley and that is the Classic Laddie.
Appearance: The golden yellow of sand on British beaches, when the sun finally glints through the clouds.
Aroma: There is a creamy note of vanilla, a sweetness of melon and the sharpness of lemon. Something almost pudding like.
Taste: This whisky starts light, but ever so floral. It has a quality, which reminds me of heather. There is sweetness, but that of pollen and of moorland, not of sugar. It draws the mind to walking in anorak and boots.
Then gradually a spice builds, it is peppery and it brings heat with it. The longer you keep it in the mouth the spicer and more robust the flavour that is given off is. This flavour builds entirely on the tongue toward the middle and the front. These notes are oaky and tangy, like sitting in the warmth of a sauna and breathing deeply the wood.
Finally, as the spice descends backwards there is a swirling smoke that moves from the tongue, to the top of the mouth and down the back of the throat. This smoke is gentle, yet dark. Oak charcoal, which burns on a hearth. There is also a metallic quality, which remains long after drinking.
Mouthfeel: Light, yet spiced.
Overall: This is not the standard Islay single malt, of which all people think of when they hear the word Islay. It is much more subtle than you would expect and much more user friendly. However it still has a drying, more complex quality. The more I drank it, the more I appreciated it.
Real Dram Factor: 7.4
More information: Bruichladdich Distillery Website