Bruichladdich 18 Year Old


With the reopening of Bruichladdich only 24 years ago, the distillery have released their first 18 year old expression comprised of casks laid down post-2000. 

Bruichladdich 18 Year Old

Region: Islay

ABV: 50.0%

Price: £150.00

The Bruichladdich Eighteen was crafted using a blend of Scottish Mainland, Islay, and Organic barley, all unpeated, and distilled in 2008.

It was matured exclusively on Islay in ex-bourbon casks, along with a select number of Sauternes and Port casks. These casks were vatted and married for nine months prior to bottling.

Nose

The nose opens with soft fruits, peaches, white melon, lemon drops, maybe a little lychee too. We’re also getting almond marzipan as we go back to the dram, quite sweet with the occasional hit of saltwater coming through. There’s also a little bit of varnish, digestive biscuits, buttercream.. maybe Chantilly cream.. overall fairly silky and very bourbon cask forward. There’s a fair bit of alcohol on the nose, the wood polish type of spice, alongside pear skin and toasted oak. It’s in reasonable balance though, with the aromas presenting a strong counter to the alcohol.

Palate

The palate begins with some butter biscuits, lemon peel, candy floss, sweet liquorice, moving into black pepper, cinder toffee and apples doused in light caramel. The initial palate is quite light, but ramps up as it sits on your tongue. There’s some of the charred oak coming through on the good length finish.. it’s a pleasant finish with a sweet lemon curd flavour. The mouthfeel is lacking a touch, like thin sugar syrup which is a touch disappointing. We’re also finding stale sponge cake that’s had a little but too much salt added to the cake batter. Time and air brings some of those soft white fruits out, along with coriander seeds and some fondant icing too. The woodiness comes into a better balance with the additional air too.

Nose (with water)

Reduction brings out more salt on the nose, along with prominent icing sugar and lemon bon bon aromas. It’s a punchier nose, but those varnishy, alcohol aromas have receded and we’re enjoying it a bit more now. There’s still a good bit of wood, but it’s softer, sweeter and a little saltier to.. a pleasant, balanced mix.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate has a slight increase in acridity, with toasted oak, ginger snaps, caramel sauce, salted liquorice and artificial lemon juice from a those plastic squeezy lemons. The finish maintains a good length, with richer flavours of stroopwaffles and wholewheat crackers.

Conclusion

A good example of the Laddie spirit matured predominantly in bourbon. We don’t really get any of the port casks coming out of the mix, but perhaps those softer, sweeter fruits are a result of the Sauterne casks? Who knows. We enjoyed the dram, it’s got good balance, a nice gentle finish but the mouthfeel is a bit lacklustre for us. Water helps the nose a bit, but we probably prefer the unreduced palate, so it’s worth experimenting to see which way you prefer it. We’d happily have another dram.

Score: 7/10

Value

Several distilleries release their 18-year-old expressions at a price significantly lower than the Bruichladdich 18, including Bunnahabhain and Old Pulteney, to name just a few. We wish Bruichladdich had made this offering more competitive in terms of price.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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