I was at my local liquor store, and I mentioned to an employee that I had never tried Bruichladdich [brook-laddie]. He pointed me to the 15 year and talked about how it was finished in Sauternes wine casks. Then he mentioned that they just got some 50 ml miniatures of it in stock. Cool, a chance to try it without full commitment! At home, I was reading the tiny print on the bottle and canister, looking for mention of the casks. I couldn’t find any. The bottle did state that this whisky is bottled at 46%, and the canister points out that that it’s not chill-filtered or artificially colored. Sounds good so far.
Looking online, I discovered that the Bruichladdich 15 year “Second Edition” is the one that is finished in Sauternes casks. What I had in my hand was a miniature of the first edition Bruichladdich 15. This one is a vatting of 85% whisky from American Oak casks, and 15% from Spanish Oak casks. I’m guessing they got a pretty good deal on these from the distributer. I checked back at the store the next day, and it is indeed the Second Edition full size bottle that they have in stock (it says Second Edition on the bottle). Oh well, it’s still a chance for me to get my first taste of a Bruichladdich. Let’s take this outdated mini for a spin…
On the nose, I’m getting some light winey notes (white wine, not sherry), and a lemon, floral mix. Something else is there that I want to call a pine scent. Not real pine, necessarily, but the artificial pine scent you might find in air fresheners or cleaners. If I leave my nose in the glass a while, I feel like there is some vanilla as well.
On the palate, it reminds me of semi-sweet melon, and then some peppery spice comes through. It’s pretty light weight, though. The finish? Not much of one…the pepper lingers for a very short period, and it seems a little salty. Then it all quickly disappears.
Conclusion: I’ve read the distillery notes, and a couple of reviews now, and they mention a “fresh” scent/taste with the Bruichladdich 15. I don’t know what “fresh” tastes or smells like, though. Is it that pine scent I was picking up? To me, this malt is very ordinary. The nose is Ok, but doesn’t really pull me in. It’s very easy on the palate; nothing offensive there, but then it’s quickly gone and forgotten. It IS very drinkable. I could move right through quite a few ml of this stuff without really thinking about it. It’s just not something I want to sit with in the evening and savor. I find it very average.
At $40, I think this would be a great daily drinker, or perhaps something light and easy on a summer afternoon. However, at the current price of $85 (if you can find it), I just don’t see it. At that price, I’m going to turn to a number of other single malts before this one. I’m not in any way turned off of Bruichladdich, and I’m curious about their peated offerings, I’m just not going to extend myself to get a bottle.
Other opinions (and distillery info)
I wasn’t able to find a whole lot of information on this first edition of the 15 year. A number of the reviews I found were for the second edition. Here are a couple of links, though:
- Whisky Magazine – Notes and ratings by Michael Jackson and Dave Broom. There are also links to some forum threads on this expression further down the page.
- Royal Mile Whiskies – Not for sale anymore, but there are some tasting notes.
- Bruichladdich Product Sheet (PDF) – A link to the company product sheet for Bruichladdich 15.
Bruichladdich Distillery location