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Bruichladdich Classic Laddie Scottish Barley

Average score from 9 reviews and 11 ratings 88

Bruichladdich Classic Laddie Scottish Barley

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@cricklewood
Bruichladdich Classic Laddie Scottish Barley

A couple of months back I won a contest that was put on by a fellow instagrammer.

I was well pleased when I received two interesting samples from one of my favorite distilleries, both whiskys had the heavy touch of wine casks about them and it turns out I had the right partner for just such an occasion.

My girlfriend has an oft neglected bottle of The Classic Laddie in the back of her cupboard, it’s not so much that it was a bad bottle but it’s just kind of particular depending on what you’ve been having before.

Bottled in 2016, it is a vatting of 82 casks between ranging in vintages between 2005-2008 42% of them being 1st, 2nd or 3rd fill wine casks. I figured this is a good exercise to see if there is any common DNA among 3 wine casked variants.

Nose: Apricots, a bit of struck match, melon, wet oak, red currants, a touch of lanolin. Pickled ginger & menthol. There’s definitely some tension between the fruits and then the cask play. A bit of lamp oil, salty caramel definitely a fusel type note.

Palate: Oily, sharp, butterscotch candy, sulfur, canned apricots, a grassy and vegetal side. Sunflower oil, dried mango, Celery salt. The sulphur is a back and its like veg cooking water but it’s just hanging in the back.

Finish: Sharp, astringent, sweet and sour, there’s definitely the signs of youth as it’s prickly on the middle of the tongue. The finish lingers. It’s quite long and persistent with lemon pith.

Notes: It’s got some Bruichladdich hallmarks, melons, super oily and rich. The oak contributes some richness but also this kind of menthol note

This isn’t the most cohesive although I feel the bottle has suffered with time. The nose remains the most pleasant aspect of it.

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I decided to give this one a try, as I was on a bit of a whisky buying spree. First, the bottle is a cool color, with that lovely blue.

I had it neat, and on the nose, one finds some classic Islay scents - smoke, wood, lavender, licorice and some brine.

The taste of this dram is incredible. A full mouth of wood, leather, toffee and a bit of salt. I was truly surprised when I looked at the bottle and realized it was unpeated. But as other reviews have noted, it’s likely the char in the cask which gives this whisky its smoky and peaty taste. The smoke and peat is not like you get in a “big” Islay like Laphroaig or Ardbeg. Rather, it stays in the background complimenting and accentuating the other flavors.

The mid-palate reveals a stronger toffee taste, with a wee hint of honey.

I found the aftertaste to be unique. I would describe it as meaty. As if I had just savored a perfectly cooked piece of filet mignon, and the lingering juices and some of the outside char were still in my mouth. Again, the smoke was not overwhelming, but more of a well-done finish.

It is a fairly complex whisky, with various flavors and scents to be experienced over multiple drams. This will be one I repeatedly return to.

Have you checked the bottle code on the website to see the breakdown of casks/ages? Bruichladdich is exemplary with transparency and disclosure. I’d be interested to see “what’s in” your batch/bottle.

@OdysseusUnbound I discarded the cardboard tube it came in.

@OdysseusUnbound

I've wanted to try this Bruichladdich for a long time but I've never brought myself to pull the trigger on it without trying it first. Luckily, a friend of mine (my wife's cousin's husband) opened a bottle this past Friday and I got to sample from it extensively. Also luckily, I made notes early in the evening, before getting too carried away. This whisky was sipped outside on a hot summer day and it feels like the appropriate setting for the Classic Laddie.

Tasting Notes

  • Nose (undiluted): Very floral (no lavender fields though, daisies? violets?), briny, a bit of lemon, and some earthy notes despite the fact that this is unpeated
  • Palate (undiluted): medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel, not all that hot for a whisky bottled at 50% ABV, a bit darker in flavour than I expected, with brown sugar, nuttiness, malty with a bit of fruitiness at the tail end, white grapes perhaps.
  • Finish: medium length with the brine returning, a little mint note, it was (dare I say it?)"refreshing".

With water, there were more fruity notes coming through, mostly lemon and cherries on the nose and some green apples and a bit of honeydew melon on the palate. The nutty notes are there with and without water. I would call it walnut, but it didn't have the slightly bitter, drying feel that walnuts sometimes have. Walnuts without their skins, maybe? Forgive me if that sounds über-pretentious.

This feels like a summer whisky. Maybe it's the marketing schtick or the colour of the bottle, but it's definitely reminiscent of the seaside. It's certainly no surprise that this is a young whisky (most being 7-8 years old if you check the bottling code) but it's a young whisky that's well-balanced. Everything is nicely integrated. Having tried it, I will probably buy a bottle the next time this goes on sale (as it often does). It's not a game-changer, but it's a very friendly whisky.

Nice review and not at all pretentious to try and nail down an elusive flavor you're picking up in your dram.

I've been sitting on a comparative review of two different batches of Classic Laddie for some time, as I can't seem to keep the text to a reasonable length.

I was surprised by how different they were yet they seemed to exhibit a fair amount of barley, fruits and slight coastal briny tang.

How cool is to be able to check the vatting recipe? It's very informative and can be surprising too. This is one of the rare whiskys that has a radical price drop at the lcbo/saq, it used to retail for 85$ has since dropped to 65$ I believe.

Thank you for the review. I've enjoyed both the Scottish and Islay Barley. I got a whiff of peat as well. If i remember, correctly, the Islay scored a couple points higher quality-wise, but it was also 10$ more ((probably for the name "Islay" on the bottle :)

@MuddyFunster

So this bottle has been open about 9 months.

Colour is very light clear amber. One of the lightest whiskys I've rated.

Nose is stunning. There's a lot of peat and tar, but it's got a massive clean crisp fruity character. Tinned pineapple, lemon citrus, some light sherry, unmalted barley. It's got the fruit profile of a young Irish pot still whiskey. That clean crisp steely tinned/tropical fruit character, light sherry. But then layered nicely on top is the barley grain and peat. There's a lightness to this which is wonderful. I was expecting heavy oily barley and cloying peat, but the aromas dance around the senses. After a few minutes the aromas build and the barley becomes a little heavier and more dominant. A little thicker.

On the taste it's something quite different. Peat and tar hits first, coal dust, but then that gives way eventually to spice on the palate. This lingers on the palate for a while, but then it's lemon citrus, light unmalted barley grain, vaguest hint of the pineapple fruit starting to build a little at the back. Am I getting some light sherry in there ever so slightly or just imagining it.

This has several dimensions working within it. Things I wouldn't expect to work together, but they are. Quite heavy peat with light delicate fruit and a big hit of spice.

Finish is pretty big and long. Peat lingers throughout, coal dust, fresh cut oak, slight light fruit sweetness, spice fades. Lemon and apple and pineapple alongside the coal dust.

Complex and utterly magnificent whisky, with it's different elements working in harmony. Stunning NAS.

Damn! I passed on the Port Charlotte in favour of the cheaper, unpeated Bruichladdich Laddie Classic Scottish Barley, and now the PC is no longer available here. You've made me regret that decision, I'll grab one next time I see it. Nice review, thanks.

Yes, this is for the Heavily Peated version.

@vrudy6

I saw this at the local liquor store for $45. Compared to other stores it was a great bargain, so I jumped on it.

The whisky has been decanted for three days and the bottle opened for two weeks. At 50% abv I drink this with a full tablespoon of water.

Nose: Fresh, buttery barley, floral, light spice, light caramel, honey, musky, slight bubble gum. Even though the bottle suggests that it's unpeated I can smell traces of peat. Dusty: kind of like uncooked rice.Wax.

Palate: Spice at the forefront, deep sweetness with bitter notes afloat the dense Scottish barley. Slight toffee notes appear then dissipates almost immediately. Effervescent. Tons of vanilla, touch of honey, sweet and sour.

Finish: Medium to long. Musky honey, macadamias, vanilla, sweet and sour once more.

I've often heard of the unpeated Laddies to still have peated notes in their spirits. In one of my sessions, I had a left over dram of Glenlivet to then shift to this Scottish Barley, and bingo, there was peat all over it. When drank by itself its hardly noticeable, but when starting with a speyside non-peated to then continue with the Scottish Barley, it is greatly noticeable.

I'm liking this one more as time goes by. I've had it for about 3 months and I am halfway through it. Didn't think much of it at first, but it seems to be improving with some air time. I'll have to see if I can find those peaty notes. Nice review, thanks.

@PMessinger

Warm slow oily thick mouth coating creamy vegetal arrival steady rich spicy middle develops a iodine and sweet malt long slow finish.

This is an awesome dram the yellow & white fruits combine well with the Islay grown barley. Very balanced and enjoyable without real complex base structure. Would be a good dram for folks who aren't use to Islay scotches.

I enjoyed a bottle of it and it was at a good price ($55), but I'm not sure I'd buy it again. I really preferred the Laddie Ten, but can't get it anymore. Bruichladdich really screwed up dropping that. If you don't have stock for a 10 YO, what the hell are you doing.

@Victor

Bruichladdich Scottish Barley has no age statement, was matured exclusively in bourbon barrels, and is unpeated. Bottle code: 12 02 14. The reviewed bottle was opened 3 days ago

Nose: Barley. What else? This barley manifests as 'grain' more so than as 'grass'. The whisky shows mostly apple and pear flavours. The wood influence is almost unnoticeable. Quality of the barley manifest? Neither the best nor the worst

Taste: the barley manifests in the mouth as mostly medium and bass pitches. Barley grain, apple and pear remain the dominant themes. At 50% abv, the intensity of the flavours is most righteous. I would have enjoyed some higher pitches included as well, for balance. Unlike The Laddie Ten, there is in Bruichladdich Scottish Barley no taste of peat evident from the water used for making the whisky. This is truly unpeated whisky

Finish: stays very strong for a long time. There is a flavour of burnt brown sugar mingled with the barley at the end

Balance: if you like the taste of barley, in and of itself, then you will like Bruichladdich Scottish Barley. If you don't like the taste of barley, or don't find it enough to carry a whisky, then you will not think much of Bruichladdich Scottish Barley. As barley goes, this is pretty good barley, but not the best. I've liked the barley better on what I've had of The Laddie Ten than I do here. If I had my "druthers", I'd have a few more high pitches from the barley to balance Bruichladdich Scottish Barley out than I have in this bottle of it. Maybe in another batch

Another comprehensive and insightful review, @Victor. I have viewed Bruichladdich's revised core range with some suspicion as to whether it will be able to hold its own against the Laddies Ten/Sixteen/Twenty-two. I cannot say that your review has helped much to alleviate my concerns.

@PMessinger
@tjb

Bruichladdich keep churning out some real quality malts and their standard range are still solid options. This is NAS but the tin looks identical to The Laddie TEN. In fact, I have a bottle of the Laddie 10 and so can assure fans of the 10 that this is very similar. This is unpeated.

It sparkles in the glass like a jewelled Chardonnay.

The nose gives honey, floral, apples and vanilla. It is a pleasant and interesting nose.

In the mouth feel is smooth, malty, sweet apples, vanilla, fresh and clean.

The finish is slightly spices, sweet honey. There is a lingering sense of saline but overall pleasant, fruity, fresh.

Verdict... I like it. I rate this right up there with the Laddie TEN and whilst this is bigger at 50% the Laddie is ever so slightly better.

Ok - dumb question here...

So what is up with Bruichladdich?

It seems as though many of their whisky's have become unavailable; I believe it has something to do with their mash tun, or production having to be brought up to modern standards; I'm not entirely certain.

They also seem to have had a few different owners these past several years, and to top it all off - they offer a plethora of what seems to be limited production of whisky.

I'm a fan of Bruichladdich; cut my teeth on the 'Rocks', I love the Laddie 10, and I'm looking forward to the 'Organic'.

Just as they start making a name for themselves as producers of a quality spirit - they sorta go AWOL.

It's amazing how the average joe out there don't know about The Laddies. I went to a sushi restaurant here in South Beach and they had this one and the Islay Barley and they were both untouched. They were opened, but untouched.

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