Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Whisky Discovery #138

Bruichladdich 10 Year Old / The Laddie Ten (46% abv OB)
Islay Single Malt
Circa £38.00 70cl
Skype Tasting #4, Bruichladdich 10 Year Old 'The Laddie 10'
For the fouth dram of our Skype tasting I chose this 10 year old from the Islay distillery of Bruichladdich. This was my first taste of anything from this distillery that I have heard of, but know so little about, so decided I ought to do a little research online.

Bruichladdich was built in 1881 by the Harvey brothers, on the shore of Loch Indaal, on the Rinns of Islay, the westernmost part of the island. At the time, the distillery was a state-of-the-art design unlike Islay's older distilleries, which had developed from old farm buildings. It was built from stone from the sea shore and has a very efficient layout, built around a large, spacious courtyard.

The uniquely tall and narrow-necked stills were chosen to produce a very pure and original spirit, the opposite of the styles produced by the older farm distilleries. Over the years it subsequently changed owners several times as a result of corporate take-overs and rationalisation of the industry, narrowly avoiding closure until 1994, when it was shut down as being 'surplus to requirements'.

The distillery was subsequently purchased by a group of private investors led by Mark Reynier on 19 December 2000. Jim McEwan, who had worked at Bowmore Distillery since the age of 15, was hired as production director. Between January and May 2001 the whole distillery was dismantled and reassembled, with the original Victorian décor and equipment retained. Having escaped modernisation, most of the original Harvey machinery is still in use today.

 The ‘Laddie’, as it is affectionately known, is often considered to be the fruitiest, most inventive Islay malt and, indeed, there has been some contention as to whether it has truly attained Islay-status. Bruichladdich countered this with the introduction of the Port Charlotte range and later with the 2008-released Octomore, the world’s most heavily peated whisky with a phenol content of 131ppm.

The Bruichladdich distillery is one of eight distilleries on the island, and until the recent opening of Kilchoman farm distillery, was the only independent one, and the Laddie 10 is said to be the most important release in the history of the distillery since re-opening in 2001. The spirit was malted from only Scottish barley, was cask filled at 70% abv and laid down to sleep for ten years on their loch-side warehouses, and as they proudly say, a true beginning of a new era.

So what did I think?

The Laddie 10 is bottled at 46% abv and is naturally coloured and non chill-filtered. It has a lovely clear golden colour and the nose is delisiously soft and floral, with vanilla creams oozing out of the grassy, sweet barley sugar notes. There's fruit too, melons and a citrus zing. On the palate the sweet barley and vanilla is first, but then there is a malty oakiness to it too. I found the finish quite short and sweet, with a light peppery zing to it.

Overall I was impressed with this light fruity malt, and it wasn't what I was expecting knowing that it was an Islay. I was expecting some peaty smoke, but there's non of that here. You won't miss this in the shops as the packaging is very distinctive with its bright baby blue tube. I think I must get a bottle of this little piece of history in the making.

No comments: