With winter in full swing, we just couldn’t resist a chewy Islay to shore us all against the cold, biting wind. So put on a scarf and a nice cosy wooly jumper, head out to the veranda and anticipate the arrival of this months malt – the Bruichladdich the Laddie Ten – a big Islay, but without the peat normally associated with a Islay whisky.
We have been watching with anticipation the changes that have been happening at Bruichladdich distillery. Originally built in 1881with tall narrow necked stills to produce a pure and clean spirit, Bruichladdich has been a bit of a hot potato with 8 different owners including the most recent change last year from a private consortium to Remy Cointreau. The private consortium led by Mark Reynier rescued Bruichladdich out of moth balls in 2000, recommencing distilling in 2001 after a complete refurbishment.
The owners always intended to release a 10 YO whisky, but no bank manager is going to agree to a 10 year loan with no money coming in, so they had to find novel ways to start selling single malt whisky that is less than 10 YO. To their credit the range of Bruichladdich whiskies have been varied and wonderful. The New Yorker has a slide show of their favourites including Rocks, Organic, Port Charlotte (which is a heavily peated tribute to a silent distillery). Extreme peatiness can really cover the lack of good aging as noted in the Octomore which claims to be the worlds peatiest whisky. These whiskies have kept the wolves (bankers) from the door while time slowly passed until the Laddie was finally ready for release.
And it seems the Bruichladdich boys are somewhat happy to finally be offering a 10yo from the ‘new’ Bruichladdich. Here’s what they have to say about the Bruichladdich the Laddie Ten:
This is without doubt the most important release in our history, and very much a landmark for the distillery and the Bruichladdich team. it was an intensely emotional day, in the spring of 2001, when we first broke the padlock on the Bruichladdich gates and took charge of this charismatic but much-neglected Victorian distillery on the far west Atlantic coast of Islay.
This whisky, this spirit, malted from only Scottish barley for authenticity, slow-fermented for purity, trickle-distilled for creamy texture and cask-filled at 70% for extra flavour, has been quietly slumbering in our loch-side warehouses for the last 10 years, and we are immensely proud to offer this landmark dram to you now.
The true beginning of a new era.
A savoury, spicy and maritime whisky, with a rich honey mead flavour, toasted sour dough and fresh sea spray on the finish. At only 10 years, the fruitiness and character of the raw spirit is still abundant. There is apricots and peaches with a touch of sultana. 10% of this whisky was aged in PX Casks (the rest in American Bourbon barrels), which explains the underlying Christmas cake. Just a touch of smokiness from the charred American oak barrels with honey and caramel. On the finish there is a hint of freshly shucked oyster, which is the maritime effect of the barrel house built right on the seashore.