Found on the rough rocky shore of the isle of Islay, Bruichladdich is very proud of its seaside home and seeks to emulate that in its Whisky.
It creates smoky malt filled with brine and sea air in unpeated, heavily peated and super heavily peated editions.
Part of the effort to capture Islay and its Scottish roots is found in the distillery’s Barley Range, which explores the effect of using different variations of barley on the final product.
The Scottish Barley expression is one of the distillery’s flagship malts and represents the classic flavour of Bruichladdich. It has been matured in American Oak and is unpeated.
It opens with a nose of cereals and a slight herbal note of mint. The herbal notes develop into grass and wild flowers, with floral hints taking over.
There is also a salty sweetness to the nose that brings to mind its seaside home and the briny air it is matured in. Caramel mixes with the salt and creates a fantastically soft, sweet aroma to the floral notes.
Fruits come in towards the end of the first whiff, with ripe red apples and pears creating a tangy flavour to harmonise with the caramel.
These develop into the palate and the floral notes become more honeyed and sweet.
The barley notes are joined by oak wood, which adds a little vanilla hint with a slightly peppery tone to it. The barley plays an important role in this malt as it creates the perfect backdrop for the sweet caramels and florals to play against.
The finish is strong and long. It is filled with ripe fruit and grains that will definitely have you reaching for another glass.
As well as celebrating Scottish barley, Bruichladdich have also chosen to create a dram that captures the heart if the Isle of Islay.
Using barley from farms around the island, Islay Barley is everything that Bruichladdich stands for.
The nose is fruity, with hints of grapes and apples. These add a sweetness that has a floral background to it. This also creates a fresh bouquet.
Vanilla with a little hint of oak wood comes through as well, with a slight nod towards sweet nuts such as pecans. These work well with the fruit to provide a clean texture.
The palate takes this vanilla and blows it up. It is fully developed into an oak wood, with lots of sweetness and a dash of white pepper spice.
The fruits also grow bolder and mingle well with the sweet tones of the barrel. They are smothered in caramel and honey that has a delicious floral and earthy tone to it.
The mouth feel of this dram is exceptionally smooth and easy going, a testament to the high quality products that have gone into making it.
The finish is warming and long, recalling the barley throughout and allowing the orchard fruits of the nose to be fully realised.
The next exploration in barley comes in the form of the Bruichladdich Organic Scottish Barley. This expression takes the sweetness of Bruichladdich and builds a steady foundation on it.
With lots of honey and caramel, the nose is a delight. It is well rounded and full, with rich saccharine notes that give it a good start.
There is also a wonderful citrus tang that gives depth and refinement to the sweet notes, allowing them a sounding board to jump off and become fully formed.
The nose has a great cereal note that rounds up these flavours perfectly.
On the palate the sweetness takes over and caramel and honey lend a delicately smooth mouth feel.
The cereals are also very present and take on an oaty biscuit flavour that fills the mouth. It is like an apple crumble with a healthy dose of caramel sauce.
Pears and other orchard fruits are also present and continue to add depth to the sugary sweetness.
Citrus has a distinct presence throughout and works to bring the sweeter flavours together.
This continues into the finish, which is long and lasting. The fruits become fully formed and the honey ahs the final say.
The final expression to look at it Bere Barley. Bere Barley has a lower yield than other varieties and this produce was actually imported to Islay from the Isle of Orkney.
This expression is again wonderfully sweet and takes on a more floral note than the other. Honey is ever present in the nose, but with a blossom and flower petal note to it.
This gives a dense earthy tone to the bouquet. The barrel is also present, with lots of oak notes and the first whiff of this expression will have you thinking you are walking through an orchard.
The oak gives depth and refinement with a lovely little hint of vanilla.
On the palate this hint becomes full bodied, as the vanilla takes over and is joined by brown sugar and lemon. The citrus is distinct and sharp but works in tandem with the other flavours.
The sea air of the Islay coast also plays a pivotal role in this dram as it backs up the vanilla flavours with a salty tang.
The finish of this dram is refreshing, with more citrus peel and clean cut fruits such as apples and pears.
Thanks to Bruichladdich for the sample bottles and for creating such a great range.