This tasting should be interesting. The bottle itself is a hard to find Bruichladdich Laddie Classic Edition 1. Bruichladdich has become quite an experimental distiller and bottler lately, as my review of their 16 year old Chateau Margaux indicated, and this product is no exception. It is a limited release of the distiller’s classic Islay style and matured in American bourbon oak casks. The bottle, in its aqua blue colour, is also quite different. It is not clear and the product within is not visible until it is poured. Bottled at 46% abv, I noted that my bottle also contained an indication of the date it was produced. The spirit was bottled at 11:11 on April 7, 2011. Since there is no age statement, one can only wonder how old the spirit is, but the bottle mentions that this is ” a union of spirits distilled over the last decades, matured in oak casks which have lain in our sea spray lashed cellars on Islay’s Western seaboard all their whisky lives”. It mentions that it reflects their head distiller’s (Jim McEwan) intent. Let’s see if Mr. McEwan’s intent matches my expectations.
A light gold product greets the eyes, showing some rather thick but quick running legs. If its texture matches its appearance, it should be a silky smooth whisky.
On the nose, very smooth with barely even a trace of alcohol burn. Soft orange peel and pineapple are refreshingly apparent. A hint of raisin is noticeable too and gives way to very faint traces of overripe fig, possibly leaning on honey. A floral and fruity introduction overall with an oak background balancing and binding all the aroma.
On the palate, it’s an explosion of barley, dried fruits, citrus, raisin, dates, black pepper, spice, and a tinge of caramel. As expected, this is smooth and pleasant.
The finish is not as long as I expected and leaves behind black pepper at first, but turns slightly sweet and salty, then offers a brief encounter with dried fig, and goes to caramel for the length of whatever remains.
Overall, an above average, full bodied whisky with a good level of complexity to render it interesting through the full tasting and keep you coming back for more. Only one bottle is left in all of Quebec as of this writing, but Ontario seems to have a good stock. However, Ontario is pricing this about $15 more than Quebec’s $64. I can never figure out the logic in pricing some of these products, but there you are. Ontario’s price may be putting it a bit out of reach though and pitting it against some interesting offerings. If you take advantage of some of the SAQ’s periodic rebate schemes, you can get this for less than $60 if it’s in stock and even at its regular price, it is well worth the cost. I recommend this one for newbies and long time whisky appreciators alike.