We're back on the Isle of Islay looking at two new Laddies, including their new rye/malt release.
Bruichladdich The Regeneration Project
The Regeneration Project is a blend of 55% Islay grown rye and 45% malted barley, sourced from Coull farm. Distilled in 2017, the whisky was maturated in a mix of first fill bourbon casks and first fill American virgin oak casks for five years.
We’re met with a foostiness, very yeasty up front alongside ginger spice and charred virgin oak. As we continue to nose, it’s more of a gingerbread coming through now, a little bit of turpentine and black pepper. We’re getting somewhat of the expected aromas of rye, but we’ve definitely had more rye-forward drams. Time and air in the glass reveals cassia bark and more so dominant young spirit notes. We’re not overly enamoured but maybe the palate will bring it back.
More sweetness than the nose, with honey, carrot cake, gingerbread and a lick of sea salt too. There’s more of a rye flavour here, however the large percentage of malt in the mash bill mellows out that heavy, rich spice we expected. We’re also finding lemon, hazelnut and vanilla coming through towards the finish. The mouthfeel is fine, nothing to write home about, and the finish has a medium length with cinnamon, chocolate and a touch of whipped cream. There’s a younger barley sugar note that catches the front of your palate each sip you take.
Nose (with water)
It’s opened up a little with more sweetness coming through, a little chocolate and nutmeg. It’s easier to nose now with a few drops of water. We’re also finding shaved wood and maple syrup as we leave our noses in the glass.
Palate (with water)
More of a subtle spice, the ginger is still there alongside vanilla and lemon zest. There’s not much else that’s changed though. We’d probably recommend adding a few drops, just to open up the nose if anything.
An interesting experiment, unfortunately one that falls short of the mark for us. The nose was a bit funky, but the palate was a little better, with more balance of sweetness and spice. We wanted more of that up-front punchy rye flavour, but we wonder if there’s just too much malt in the mix? It’s also pretty damn expensive for a 5 year old whisky. We appreciate the environmental benefits of using rye in scotch whisky, but we’re not sure the Laddie spirit worked well on this occasion.
Bruichladdich Valinch 64 - Shaun Cameron
Price: £75.00 / 500ml
This distillery exclusive release was distilled 25th of June 2012 and spent 10 years in a wine cask. We’re not 100% sure of what type of wine, however the bottle/whiskybase mentions “MB France left bank of the Dordogne” so we’re guessing somewhere in Monbazilliac. 288 bottles were released exclusively at the Laddie distillery.
The nose bursts open with red fruits, currants, strawberries, raspberries, alongside a little mint leaf and subtle black pepper spice. We’re getting a touch of salinity coming through as well. As we continue to nose, we’re being reminded of a strawberry and cream filled sponge cake, with a glass of limoncello on the side. At 63%, the alcohol feels well balanced with the strong aromas from the wine cask maturation and you can get your nose deep into the glass without too much issue.
We’re finding a lot of the red fruit jamminess comes through quite prominently, but unlike the nose, the spice is a bit too overpowering. It’s very hot, too much black pepper which throws the dram off balance. The mouthfeel is fine, and the finish has a good length, with sweet vanilla fondant icing and caramel sauce appearing as the dram lingers on. Going back after some time and air and we’re met with crisp red apples and honey nut cheerios.
Nose (with water)
Slightly more citric and rich with water, lemon and chocolate, maybe some dry earth too. It’s getting a bit more of a sweet pastry aroma too, however we’ve lost some of those fresher red fruits.
Palate (with water)
Even with a good few drops of water, there’s still an upfront spice, albeit slightly less overpowering. In a similar way to the reduced nose, the dram feels richer with dark chocolate, hazelnuts and marshmallow. It reminds us a bit of a strawberry wagon wheel, all of the components working together nicely.
The nose showed so much promise, but the palate couldn’t meet the (albeit very high) expectations we had. That’s not to say it’s a bad whisky, it’s really good if you can push past the overpowering alcohol. We were still able to make out some of the coastal maturation of the Laddie spirit which was a plus. Reduction mellowed the spice somewhat, however it was still a bit spicy. We’ll go with a 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.