Bruichladdich wasn’t always guerilla marketing, peat wars and CADD (*cask attention deficit disorder). Before they began pouring brimstone down our throats and bouncing from one weird wine finish to another (all of which were somewhat fun in their own way), there was a more naked and old school whisky snoozing away in the casks alongside Loch Indaal.
Years ago, long before the socially savvy and indescribably charming Jim McEwan took over the reins as Bruichladdich’s master distiller, there were other hands involved in the production and management of Bruichladdich’s stocks. Some of these other hands being slightly more famous and curmudgeonly than others (ahem, Wee Willie), but the whisky produced under these various owners and managers reputedly seems to have been of a rather uniformly high quality. The wood policy, on the other hand, was apparently questionable. Fortunately, however, some of the whisky from these times long gone has survived not only intact, but as a shining example of just how good older Bruichladdich can be. Hopefully this is a foreshadowing of what may come to be in a couple more decades from the ‘Laddie guys.
This whisky we’re drinking here is a 35 year old malt from the Legacy series. It was quite probably one of the first production runs of Invergordon Distillers after acquiring the distillery in 1968, and was released within a year or two of the distillery’s 2001 rebirth. The only fingerprint the new owners would have had is in making the decision to pull it from the barrel and bottle it. Or perhaps this was freshened up in a new cask for a short spell, as Jim is wont to do. Rumour has it he did a lot of recasking when he arrived, helping to triage some dying spirit. Either way…this is clean, pure and absolutely glorious Bruichladdich. If you ever get the chance to try the distillery’s old distillate, do so.
Nose: Beautiful, sweet and old. A touch of cherry. Fresh peach. Soft creamy vanilla. Pear with white pepper. Pink grapefruit. A slight soft putty note. Faint cinnamon. Clean, fresh oak. Just a touch of florals. Soft and beautiful. As you can tell…everything is soft, gentle and barely there. Great integration. Complex and outstanding nose.
Palate: Almost tropical here. A lot of wonderful soft fruits all mixed together. Crunchy underripe pear. Fruit salad. A little more wood showing now. Slightly drying, in fact. A palate built on fruits and woods.
Thoughts: This is a sexy old malt. Unquestionably the best Bruichladdich I’ve ever tried.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt