Bruichladdich is one of Islay’s distilleries that traditionally has never produced whisky characterized by a particular peat; after the reopening and restarting of production under a new ownership between 2000 and 2001, the new Bruichladdich has expanded its offer in an extraordinary way, investing in wine-finishing, producing peated and super heavily peated malts (Port Charlotte and Octomore) and above all focusing on very ‘modern’ and ultimately winning marketing strategies. As Serge Valentin writes here, this attitude is due to the need to relaunch the brand: in a few years, in all probability, they will “calm down” and take a few steps back towards a more stable profile. This year, for example, the first completely new 10 years which seems to be really interesting (a review, also by Serge, you can find it here). Let’s come to our 17 year old now: the colour is a nice light amber.
N: very sweet, immediately: honey, brown sugar, a bit of vanilla in the background, but little. What prevails is toasted malt (rusks!), with the sweetness that slowly leaves room for a very pleasant bitterness. Almond milk. There are also notes of dried fruit, mainly apricots, and ripe pear; grassy, floral, but a little abstract nuances. Adding water (in any case not necessary), the wood does not come out, but a little bit of marine emerges, but with great discretion. Good nose…
P: …doesn’t lie: very drinkable, creamy. Bittersweet as in the nose, still on almond and honey, it remains very pleasant and not at all cloying. The taste of malt seems to be the starring, with notes of caramel and citrus fruit (lemon peel) on the sides to prevail over a very vague fruity (tropical fruit? But let’s repeat, a bit vague). It’s a bit restrained, if that makes sense: there are no flames of taste, it’s an easy whisky, enjoyable but not extraordinarily complex, all played on malty notes and a sober interaction with the barrels.
F: not very long, but good: still a bit bitter, herbaceous (hay), a bit woody. Lemon peel on a toasted slice.
This Bruichladdich is certainly good, well made; it’s a neat whisky, consistent, without spikes and without amazing edges, but overall we like it. A good example of how Islay knows how to make whisky without overdoing it with peat; definitely enjoyable, but it is perhaps a pity that the fruity notes remain a bit restrained and the coastal ones, instead, almost do not come out. However, his 85/100 it’s earned honestly. Here you can read quick impressions of two gurus like Dave Broom and Micheal Jackson (who, incidentally, would try this whisky in a Caipirinha…).
Recommended soundtrack: a decidedly tipsy Robin Laing singing his Bruichladdich Dram. The record version exists, but to our taste it is frankly forgettable.