Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2012 (2022 Release) & Bruichladdich Organic 2011


Off to the progressive Hebridean Distillery, Bruichladdich, to look at some of their barely-centric releases.

Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2012 (2022 Release)

Region: Islay

ABV: 50.0%

Price: £85.00

The latest Bere Barley was distilled in 2012 from bere barley grown by the Agronomy Institute of Orkney College (UHI). It was matured in first fill bourbon casks for 10 years.

Nose

The nose opens with some toasted oats, honey, apples and vanilla. Giving it some time and air reveals chocolate mousse, and strawberry ice cream. As we keep going back to it we find it develops more fruit sweetness, but in the form of dried fruits and we can specifically pick out apricot, mango, and raspberries. There’s also a nice salinity here with just a touch of yeast.

Palate

Initially there’s some vanilla sweetness, and citrus fruits. This is followed by caramelised brown sugar, and warming spice from raw ginger mixed with honey. The finish is medium length, with a bit of chilli spice lingering. Going back to it the oats from the nose are starting to appear. At 50% it’s smooth and easy drinking albeit a little thin in terms of mouth feel. We really liked the nose, but the palate falls a little short as most of the notes we enjoyed while nosing do not appear.

Nose (with water)

Water brings out more of the fruit and we’re getting pears, tangerines and apricots. We liked the nose before, but we think it benefits from a small amount of water. Time reveals some orange marmalade, and strawberry and cream hard boiled sweets. There’s also just the faintest whiff of smoke in the background.

Palate (with water)

Water takes away some of the alcohol bite, and spice turning the ginger into candied ginger, and the chilli into cracked black pepper. Unfortunately, water also makes the mouth feel even thinner, and the finish shorter. Going back to it we can pick out notes of white sugar and vanilla syrup.

Conclusion

We liked the nose on this one, but the palate let it down, and at the price point of £85 it’s a little too expensive for a 10yo. An interesting experiment and we’re glad to have tried this year’s release, but we wouldn’t buy a bottle.

Score: 7/10


Bruichladdich Organic 2011

Region: Islay

ABV: 50.0%

Price: £75.00

This release was distilled in 2011 from organic barley grown by Mid Coul Farms. It was matured in first fill bourbon casks for 11 years.

Nose

The nose is tight initially and benefits from sitting in the glass. As it opens up we can pick out some raspberry compote, brown sugar, and strawberry jam. Giving it more time reveals some creme brûlée and toasted cereal notes similar to the Bere barley. We’re find once it’s had time to open up it becomes creamier and sweeter than the Bere.

Palate

Initially on the palate there’s some toasted oak, lime juice and simple syrup. Giving some air reveals more citrus. It's got a creamy mouthfeel, and the finish is a reasonable length with some spice lingering. Now the negatives.. it’s quite alcohol forward on the palate and we’d have guessed a higher ABV, and as we go back to it we find a bitter grapefruit note appearing on the finish. Much like the Bere Barley we’re finding the palate disappointing compared to the nose.

Nose (with water)

The nose with water is musty and sweet, white sugar cubes, vanilla syrup, double cream and warehouse funk. The water has opened up and we’re able to pick out the individual notes more easily now. Like the Bere water has helped the nose.

Palate (with water)

The dominant flavours are now lemon juice and grapefruit. We’re finding the mouthfeel a touch disappointing now. The finish has shortened with the addition of water, but it’s sweeter and more palatable. It’s now just a bit forgettable and uninteresting. The bitterness on the finish is also reduced, it’s still noticeable, but now more like sweet dark chocolate rather than punchy grapefruit.

Conclusion

It’s a surprisingly hot dram for one that’s been watered down to 50%, and we personally would put a few drops in this even with the trade offs mentioned above.. while we’re giving this a 7/10 like the Bere if asked to chose we’d say buy this instead of the Bere.

Score: 7/10

  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

    Interested in trying drams like these? We've created the Two Whisky Bros Dram Club to help you get access to high quality, rare whisky by the dram.

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