Review: 8 Bruichladdich Expressions, 2010 Releases

Review: 8 Bruichladdich Expressions, 2010 Releases

Islay’s Bruichladdich produces so many whiskys that it’s hard to keep up. We got a look at eight of its most recent releases.

Bruichladdich 16 Years Old First Growth Series: Cuvee E Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes Finish – Part of a series of six cuvees, each finished in a first-growth Bordeaux cask. This one is from d’Yquem, the only dessert wine in the bunch. It’s a gorgeous way to start a tasting, lush with honey, fig, and light citrus notes. Woody on the finish, and all in wonderful balance. Amazing overall and hard to put down. 92 proof. A / $106

Bruichladdich Organic 2003 Anns An T-Seann Doigh – Bruichladdich’s (and Islay’s) first organic release. Light (a six or seven year old whisky) in color and body, with a mildly peaty finish. Not perfectly balanced, but drinkable enough. Needs to pick which way to go — to floral character or to peat — and run with it a bit more. Reviewed in June with similar notes. 92 proof. B / $80

Bruichladdich Pedro Ximinez Sherry Edition 1992 – A 17 year old whisky finished for two years in Pedro Ximinez Sherry casks. Dark red-orange in color and overwhelmingly sherried, which robs the malt of some of its “Scotchness.” Wood notes, and some maltiness, but terrifically overpowered by Pedro. A little tight on the finish. 92 proof. B- / $72

Bruichladdich Fino Sherry Edition 1992 – A compare and contrast Scotch against the aforementioned Pedro Ximinez. Also 17 years old, but finished for two years in Fino casks. More easygoing in color, and with a much more refined nose. Honeyed and floral, with a nice earthiness in the finish. Great balance between sweet, citrus, and cereal notes — and night and day vs. the Pedro. 92 proof. A- / $72

Bruichladdich 17 Years Old Rum Cask Finish – Wonderfully tropical,with banana, pineapple, and coconut notes, mingling nicely with vanilla and caramel flavors. Hot blooded like rum, with a fiery but smooth finish. Not exactly complicated, but a lot of fun. 92 proof. A- / $80

Bruichladdich Black Art 1989 19 Years Old – A mysterious concoction from distiller Jim McEwan, said to be so exotic that no one but he knows exactly what’s inside. It’s not hyperbole: Black Art is different, strange, and compelling. Deep orange in color, the nose offers few real clues at what’s in store. The attack is of wood, then a nougat/marshmallow character takes hold. The finish offers perhaps Port character — Black Art was matured in Bourbon and “assorted” wine casks — and a touch of smoke to cap things off. Really special and deeply interesting. 6,000 bottles made. 102.2 proof. A / $150

Bruichladdich Infinity [3] Edition 3.10 – A non-age-statement blend of whiskys young and old, and moderately peated to 20ppm — a heavier peat level than Infinity 1 or 2. Finished in both sherry and Tempranillo casks. Results: Hmmm. Not as compelling as I’d hoped. Some interesting seaside notes and a sweet finish, but less complexity than one would think. Tasted blind you’d think this was any old mildly peated whisky. 100 proof. B / $70

Bruichladdich Octomore 2 – The big gun. At 140ppm, it’s said to be the most highly peated whisky ever made. I smelled an empty bottle of this stuff and almost passed out. A mere 5 years old and light as a feather in color and oh God I just sipped it and nearly hit the floor. It’s like drinking a peat bog while attempting to swallow the sun. Bruichladdich describes this as “the iron fist in a velvet glove” but that’s not even close. It’s an iron fist in an iron glove. Add a little water — trust me — and you get somewhere in the vicinity of velvet, but it’s still a bit like trying to drink a molten sledgehammer. So, if you’re into that sort of thing. 125 proof. A- / $135

Bruichladdich 16 Years Old First Growth Series: Cuvee E Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes Finish




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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