Claxton’s Bruichladdich 14yo Cask C21025 & Dramfool 51st Release - Bruichladdich 11yo


We’re starting our week in one of the best places in the world as we look at two independently bottled Laddie releases.

Claxton’s Bruichladdich 14yo Cask C21025

Region: Islay

ABV: 54.1%

Price: £160.00

First up is a 14yo Laddie distilled on 6th of June 2007 and matured in a Madeira Octave. Only 55 bottles were released.

Nose

Jammy black fruits, red grape juice and a little chocolate. There’s a salinity here that could be confused for peat, and gives the dram another dimension. The nose is restrained, we’re finding it a little tough to get more aromas out of the glass. After some air, a candyfloss-esque sugary sweetness begins to appear. Very pleasant to nose, without overpowering alcohol even when you get deep into the glass.

Palate

Ginger and chilli spice right away, giving us a burning sensation on the tongue. We’re surprised as we didn’t get any of this on the nose. Under the alcohol, we’re finding a fruit salad of strawberries, raspberries, currants and a little cherry too. The alcohol masks some of the texture of the dram, although as the alcohol dissipates, we’re left with a sugar syrup around the mouth. Going back after some air, we’re getting vanilla sponge cake, shortbread dusted in sugar and candied orange peel.

Nose (with water)

Dilution has really pushed the salinity to the forefront, mixing with the chocolate notes from earlier. It’s like a chocolate loaf cake with sea salt sprinkled on top. We’re starting to find some baking spices in here too, ginger, cinnamon and a little nutmeg too. A lot of the fruit we were getting before has disappeared, but overall the nose is more aromatic now.

Palate (with water)

The harshness of the alcohol has been brought somewhat more in balance, with the spice turning more into black pepper. The reduction makes it slightly easier to pick out the individual flavours, we’re getting cherry cola, strawberry jam and brioche loaf with a touch of grapefruit right at the end. The mouthfeel has improved, and the finish lasts for a good length.

Conclusion

Overwhelmingly spicy on the palate, but water really helps to reign in this dram. It’s still a little alcohol forward but there’s good cask influence here. Laddie does great spirit, and this is no exception. A touch pricey, but we’d have another dram.

Score: 7/10


Dramfool 51st Release - Bruichladdich 11yo

Region: Islay

ABV: 61.8%

Price: £150

Next up is a 11yo Laddie distilled on 8th of September 2010 and matured in a 1st fill Rivesaltes Barrique. 299 bottles were released.

Nose

Tannic red fruits with a real earthiness coming through. There’s some butter in the background, along with Islay coastal air. We’re getting wet oak, black pepper, malt, and fermented red grapes / cherries. We were expecting more of a fruit forward dram, but we’ve got a savoury and salty experience instead (which isn’t a bad thing!).

Palate

There’s a lot more fruit on the palate as opposed the nose. We’re getting a very tannic sensation, along with chilli peppers and red currants. The red wine has had a massive impact on the whisky, but we’re finding the malty, salty spirit still shines through. It’s a bold dram, it grows in flavour as you hold it in your mouth. The finish is powerful and lingers on with dark chocolate, roasted hazelnuts and raisins.

Nose (with water)

Water brings out more of a sherry flavour, Christmas cake, nutty oloroso and cloves. The nose feels more harmonious now, there’s no overpowering aromas and everything feels in balance. We’re finding honey, nutmeg, caramel and dry earth. There’s still a nice sea salt aroma underlying the dram.

Palate (with water)

We’re finding more of the oak appearing now, along with those oak spices. There’s a hint of sweetness on the initial palate but it dries up quite quickly, moving onto those nuttier, richer sherry-like flavours. There’s some cocoa beans, white pepper and milky coffee flavours coming through. The mouthfeel is good and the finish stays long, although still a little too much alcohol spice for us.

Conclusion

This is a bold dram, it’s spicy, tannic, fruity, nutty, salty, a bit of everything. The full term red wine maturation has worked very well with the Laddie spirit, and we think Bruce has picked a great quality cask. Saying that, for us it’s a little too alcohol forward, bringing a bit too much spice for our palates. Water does help somewhat (and brings out more of an oloroso-like flavour), so we’d suggest being liberal with it. £150 is a lot for an 11yo whisky, so we’ll go with 7.5/10.

Score: 7.5/10

  • 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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