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Friday, May 18, 2018

Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie Scottish Barley

For those keeping score, Bruichladdich's The Classic — their NAS offering — has undergone a few design changes. First it was just Classic, in the old livery. Then there was Laddie Classic Edition_01, complete with the underscore and charade that this was the first edition. A brief hot flirtation resulted in Sherry Classic. Next, a brand-wide movement towards showcasing barley terroir motivated the Scottish Barley The Classic Laddie, with Scottish Barley getting the BIG FONT. Finally (for now) came the switch to The Classic Laddie Scottish Barley, with the classic-ness receiving the visual emphasis. The whisky's Scottishness was deemed less important than branding and/or subjectivity getting the upper hand on objectivity.

Because I've had mixed feelings about Bruichladdich's recent unpeated output, I'd expected this triple-tasting to be utterly unfair and humiliating (if one can humiliate an inert liquid) to the most current of the "Classic Laddies". But *SPOILER ALERT* the results were not that imbalanced.

Distillery: Bruichladdich
Ownership: Remy Cointreau
Region: Western Islay
Age: ???
First Maturation: probably just American oak casks
Alcohol by Volume: 50%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No

Well, they're not kidding about the barley (on the nose at least), perhaps it should have gotten first billing?!.?!1.? A little bit of yeast and wort and flowers and cocoa powder. Anise and apple skins. Some barn and metal. Sugar and cinnamon. Maybe a peep of white tequila. The palate is full of clean crisp spirit. Very little heat, despite its age and alcohol content. Roasted nuts and mild sweetness. Hints of subtle smoke, like a polite mezcal. Tangy, tart fruit and brown sugar. The finish leads with roasted grains, cayenne pepper and brown sugar. Mint leaves and a hint of yeast. Very tingly and green.


I expected very little from this whisky, especially since I had so many issues with the 8 year old. And I paired it up with two near titans. And yet, it held its own.

As I referenced in the tasting notes, the crisp clean spirit shines without burning. It's not too sweet nor does it scrape the tongue like so many other very young whiskies. The barley is the whole show, not whatever "The Classic" is. It's an ultra-young malt that succeeds without heavy peating. These things do exist. I like it. Kristen liked it. I might even buy it if I can find it for less than $50.

Availability - Most specialty whisky retailers
Pricing - $45-$65 worldwide
Rating - 85