Friday, September 23, 2011

Raising from the ashes – Bruichladdich and The Laddie Ten

Lots of new whiskies are being released these days from special collectors editions, independent vatted malts, to new premium expressions and for a lot of us it all gets just a bit boring as they are more often than not out of reach due to locality or price. Not often though do we hear about a first release of a 10yo from a well know distillery. On September 11th 2011 Bruichladdich (the progressive hebridean distillers) released it's official 10yo aptly named The Laddie Ten. Already many reviews coming out of the UK are saying this is a great dram to try and very well priced.

I am actually looking forward to trying this. I do like most of the Bruichladdich's I have had and have posted some reviews on Bruichladdich Waves, Bruichladdich Rocks, Bruichladdich Octomore 01.1.

The official news release can be found on the Bruichladdich website here. Also take the opportunity to check out the New Bruichladdich Website which has been a long time coming considering the previous one was a bit of a mess.

If you would like to see some of the highlights of the Bruichladdich Laddie Ten release and hear an interview with Head Distiller Jim McEwan have a listen to Whisky Cast episode 333 or watch the WhiskyCast HD episode below.

Back in May 2009 myself and other club members had a master class tasting of Bruichladdich with Brand Ambassador Andrew Gray. A great event though it was quite clear even then that Bruichladdich was releasing almost anything to stay above water and I think out of that has come some fantastic unconventional results other distilleries would not dare go. The line "collectors edition" was mentioned many a time during our master class tasting and I think now these previous bottling will well and truly be heavily sort after in the next 20 or so years as Bruichladdich commits to some regular releases.

The Laddie Ten official photograph from the Bruichladdich website
Not to be a wet rag too early but as a designer I am a little let down by the labelling of the The Laddie Ten. From all the images I have seen the container is well an truly to the Bruichladdich expected standards, but to see the bottle label all I can do is let out a light sigh. I was really expecting something great by Bruichladdich considering just how fantastic most its other bottles labels have been. None the less it is what is in the bottle that counts but I do feel Bruichladdich has set a standard for forward thinking cutting edge design in the past so it is pity not to see it now on The Laddie Ten. Maybe this label will see improvement soon.

Cheers to exciting times for Bruichladdich and hopefully some bottles will be filtering here to Australia soon otherwise I might just have to make a few purchases online.

The Baron


  1. Thanks for the post. I had been confused about Bruichladdich because their bottles kept changing, and I could never find them in the stores. Makes sense now!

    So do you know if the bottles they have been selling (12 yr, Rocks, Peat, etc) contain any of their new make (less than 10 years old), or are they all older stuff? Is the new 10 year old expression going to be very different?

    Not trying to put you on the spot here, just wondering if you know. If not, feel free to say so!


  2. I really do not know al that much about what went into Rocks, Waves, and Peat and so on. From what I recall Waves had a dash of Octomore in it. I do know though that even though Bruichladdich has just hit its tenth year of new ownership and hence it's first official 10yo distilled under the new ownership, the fact remains Bruichladdich has been making whisky for a long time. Previously Bruichladdich was only selling to blenders so there were many older barrels in store which is what went into many of the releases over the last few years.

    You will note Bruichladdich has an unprecedented amount of 'finish' variations that I can only attribute to having access to many older stocks which has allowed them to play so much with the whisky. When we did the Bruichladdich Master Class we were told that Bruichladdich were active in seeking out speciality small batch casks previously never used in finishing whisky before just to experiment with.

    Jim McEwan, in the interview Whisky Cast, points out the previous bottle labelled 10yo actually had 12yo and 14yo vatted into it so you can only guess as to what goes into many of these precious releases.

    That is about the most I can say without making stuff up. Maybe Bruichladdich might like to clarify a little more if they would like to comment...?

  3. Thanks for the thoughtful response. I have also heard that Octomore is used to create the peat in Waves and Peat. I guess we'll have to see if the new ownership changed production enough to really change up the whisky, or if it's just the same thing with a big marketing push! To be honest, I am not a fan of them constantly changing their expressions (I bought some miniatures to sample, then when I looked for a whole bottle I couldn't find one!), so I hope that this new 10 year sticks around for keeps (to Bruichladdich: "hint, hint").

  4. great to be on a aussie website and love bruichladdich. i have had resurrection and peat.

    in the cheaper there's only 12 and rocks. no one seems to buy just these 2.
    you sure rocks has buttery, cake like notes. i think you said dough. net comments manly say say wine. is there a fresh ocean quality and something that grips your checks. how much more sharp is compared to peat.