This is the year Bruichladdich celebrates 20 years since the distillery was resurrected back in 2001 by a group of private investors led by Mark Reynier and Simon Coughlin. To celebrate and as a fitting tribute, the distillery has launched the Bruichladdich Laddie Origins. This Feis Ile release is an attempt to bring together some of the distillery’s highlights from the past two decades.
What highlights, you might ask? Well, there an entire list that I’ve published below, but the Laddie Origins includes some of Bruichladdich’s first triple distilled spirit and also whisky from the distillery’s first crop of biodynamically grown barley. It’s a complex recipe, drawing from 13 casks across 12 vintages, 6 barley types and 9 different cask types. It’ll require skillful blending to bring everything together, but something tells me the team at Bruichladdich can be trusted to do so successfully.
Over the years the distillery has slowly become one of my personal favourites. Bruichladdich doesn’t have the most accessible flavour profile, so I think that’s why it took me a little while. One of my first encounters with the distillery must’ve been the The Laddie Ten, which quickly became a victim of its own success. But there have been other fantastic single malts over the years, with a recent Bere Barley release taking top honours in my book.
Despite now being owned by a multinational company, Rémy Cointreau seems to have be doing the right thing. Bruichladdich’s philosophy, which is centered around terroir, has been upheld since the change of ownership in 2012. Influential people like Jim McEwan and Duncan McGillivray are no longer part of the company, but their shoes have been filled admirably by the likes of Adam Hannett. Indeed, Bruichladdich seems to be in a very good place.
So, I’m glad that I’ve been able to follow the journey of this distillery. Not exactly from 2001 (when I wasn’t even old enough to drink), but certainly for the past decade. To release something that’s an amalgamation of all of Bruichladdich’s milestones, is a fitting way to celebrate the distillery’s anniversary. But before we’ll move on to my tasting notes of the Laddie Origins, have a look at complete recipe.
Scottish barley from a first-fill bourbon barrel
Scottish barley finished in a first-fill Fernando de Castilla Pedro Ximénez sherry butt
Scottish organic barley from a second-fill bourbon barrel
Scottish organic barley finished in a second-fill Chenin Blanc hogshead
Islay barley from a first-fill bourbon barrel
Triple distilled Scottish barley from a first-fill bourbon barrel
Islay barley from a Rivesaltes cask
Islay Barley from a first-fill Sauternes hogshead
Bere Barley from a first-fill bourbon barrel
Scottish barley from a first-fill cognac cask
Yatesbury Farm biodynamically grown barley from a first-fill bourbon barrel
Scottish barley from a second-fill Pauillac red wine hogshead
Black Isle grown regional trials barley from a first-fill bourbon barrel
There’s no vintages included, probably because that would be violating the rules set by the Scotch Whisky Association. Otherwise this gives a great look into the inner workings of the Laddie Origins. A complex recipe which hopefully shines through in the final product.
Nose: Notes of draff and porridge with a teaspoon of honey or brown sugar. There’s the classic lactic note that so characteristic for Bruichladdich, but also tinned peaches, a whiff of kiwi and apricots. Finally a touch of eucalyptus, salted caramel and whispers of milk chocolate. Taste: A great viscosity and a subtle maltiness. Gentle spices like cracked peppercorns and cloves alongside honey, beeswax and tinned pineapple, as well as some golden syrup. There’s licorice root also, and it has a slight medicinal touch as well, followed by some bitter lemon peel and peach. Finish: Lingering spices, mint and honey. Long.
The Laddie Origins has everything that makes Bruichladdich such an interesting, unique spirit. The ballot for this will open on May 30th. I don’t know the price yet, but seriously contemplating signing up, in spite of the annoying import tax I now have to pay whenever I order something from the UK.