Built by three brothers on the shore of Loch Indaal in the village of Bruichladdich in 1881, the distillery has traveled a bumpy road on occasion, including being mothballed several times. The current iteration has been open since the turn of the century, sprearheaded by the legendary Jim McEwan as master distiller until his retirement in 2015. Purchased by Rémy Cointreau in 2012, Bruichladdich continues to expand whisky horizons with one eye on the storied scotch legacy of yore. Serving as their signature bottling, the Scottish Barley noted prominently on the bottle points to everything about the whisky being sourced, made and aged in Scotland.
Be sure to check out the distillery’s tasting notes for this malt. Descriptive and delightful.
Nose: Mint, sour mash, barley, peach, floral
Palate: Smoke, barley, peat
Finish: Red wine, cream sauce, meat glaze, caramel
Comments: Water doesn’t really do a whole lot one way or another.
Adam – Sometimes whisky is a landscape, and this one is a nature reserve. Liking walking through a highland forest, this is a splendid mix of floral scents spritzed with mint before dropping into fields of barley beneath the tang of light smoke in the air. There’s a complexity here that is a little unusual in Islay, reminiscent of a Highland malt, and those elements are thankfully balanced. Seems like there’s something new every time you take a sniff or sip. There’s a surprising richness in the finish I wasn’t expecting either. The transitions between nose, palate and finish isn’t always the smoothest, the individual elements are to be commended.
Jenny – While a lot of whiskies can have a narrow spectrum, a few notes. With this one, when I drink it, it’s a broad spectrum and you get a little bit of something different, and everywhere on your tongue gets something different along the whole. The whole journey across your tongue is something new and different.
Meghan – This smells like the way water plants smell. Not swampy, exactly. Like the way cattails and lily pads have that green, wet smell. A vegetal freshness. The palate is a little hot but filling. It is quite malty and toasty which is an interesting contrast to the nose. From the way it finishes in a semi-sour, slight oaky way I think it might go better with food than on its own. The palate and nose can stand on their own but the finish needs more balance.
Michael – While the nose is fairly light, I found the palate full and enduring. One thing I really like about a certain class of scotches is when you can peel back layers of flavors. You can take a sip and when your attention is pointed elsewhere you can peel back layers and this one had different flavors you can explore. Different suggestions can bring out different flavors.
John – I even found it coming and going after I drank it. Yes, the warmth flows into you. It started with the warmth then it goes to the smoke, then the peat, then the finish , and that was the early stages. Then I got the complex cream sauce, put it over a pot roast kind of loveliness. The warmth is what lasted the longest. It stands on its own, though would be great with dark chocolate. It’s a great sipping scotch ion a lovely winter evening with book.
Margaret – Velvety mouthfeel. I really liked it. This one went on- it did different things at different times. It started off smokey and peaty then finishes with sweet tones and leaves a glow that lasts for a long time afterward.
Peter – There’s a texture, a kind of effervescence, a physicality there. I like it.
Mary-Fred – It’s more flower than fruit for me, but there’s something fresh and sweet. There’s some caramel on the back of the tongue. I was trying to think of how caramel fits into the sense of fresh vegetation, but that was the nose and the undercurrent is the sweetness, the caramel.