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Bruichladdich is an Islay distillery known for making some of the most heavily peated scotch you can find, but its core whisky, the Classic Laddie, is actually unpeated. Now, more than 20 years after it reopened, the distillery is releasing its first 18- and 30-year-old expressions as part of its Luxury Redefined lineup, and we got a first taste.
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These two new whiskies represent important moments in the distillery’s lifespan—the 18-year-old was distilled soon after reopening in 2001, and the 30-year-old was distilled prior to it closing in 1994. “For the 18-year-old, we’re showcasing the approach we took after reopening,” said head distiller Adam Hannett on a recent Zoom call. “Working with local growers, connecting with the land… this is the culmination of all of that work. The Classic is essentially a seven-year-old whisky and this is 18 years old. But age has never been been about quality for us, it’s just one of the factors that shapes the whisky.” This single malt was matured mostly in ex-bourbon barrels with a few sauternes wine and port casks in the mix, and bottled at 50 percent ABV with no color added. The character of the Classic Laddie shines through, but with a more mature flavor profile—look for notes of honey, oak, caramel, spice, and a bit of leather.
The 30-year-old is not, of course, just the 18 with an additional 12 years of maturation given the fact that it was distilled before the distillery closed. According to the brand, just two staff members were in charge of safeguarding the remaining casks for the seven years it was shuttered, and this whisky comes from some of those bourbon barrels. “This 30-year-old is a legacy from the days before we closed in 1994,” said Hannett, noting that most of the whisky went into blends in those days. “The whisky they made back then was going to be lost in amongst hundreds of other casks, but they made amazing spirit. We looked after this whisky for generations, and it’s now my privilege to bring it to bottle. It makes you think about the whisky we lay down today and how we have to make sure our standards are high to give future generations the best chance [of releasing a quality product].” The 30-year-old was bottled at 43.2 percent ABV with no color added, and has notes of tropical fruit, dark chocolate, black pepper, lemon curd, dark berry, and oak on the palate.
The Bruichladdich Eighteen and Thirty are both available now from ReserveBar. And you can find the rest of the collection, including The Classic Laddie and the fantastic new Black Art, from ReserveBar as well.
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