Whisky Review: The Laddie 8

Islay has barely 3,000 inhabitants. It lies off Scotland’s blustery south west coastline. And yet it is the place where many a whisky geek travels to in order to pay homage to his drams.

Port Ellen has just become the 10th live distillery and more are planned. In this review we are focusing on Bruichladdich. It was founded in 1881 and was shuttered as recently as 1994, as ‘surplus to the requirements’ of the then owners.

The turnaround over the past 25 years or so has been dramatic. New owners. Brilliant management team. In a poll of over 1,000 members on Dramface, Bruichladdich is consistently in the top 5! Not bad for a business whose name most people have difficulty in pronouncing. (My tip? Bru’ ich, ladd, i – with the 2nd ‘ich’ barely audible).

Bruichladdich keeps it simple and clean. Everything is non chilled filtered and no colouring is used. For the non expert that statement means that you are receiving a natural and authentic product. Their barley comes from Scotland, with much of that originating on Islay itself. And the owners are very open about the fact that the carbon footprint on site will reach as close to zero as possible in the next two years.

There are 3 core ranges:

A) Port Charlotte. The 10 year old is a staple for many. Strong peat flavours.

B) Octomore. Unashamedly heavily peated, and how. Very pricey.

c) Bruichladdich – upeated. And this is where we are going to spend a few moments.

‘The Laddie 8’ is bottled at a very healthy 50% and has been available since 2016. The cask influence is mostly bourbon. There is a sherry cask touch as well, although I believe the type varies from batch to batch. The packaging comes in a very effective bluey / turquoise sturdy tin casing.

The colour is a kind of weak gold or looks like a poor light ale beer for beginners. However, this should not put you off your first sip of the dram. ‘The Laddie 8″ is a cracker of a whisky.

Nose: Oodles of different fruits line up, particularly citrus and passion fruits. Smells sweet like a rich honey.

Palate: Caramelled green fruits, nuts and maybe even some salted caramel.

The finish: Somewhat dry, hoping for a bit longer, but leaving a feeling of ‘more please!’

I don’t like giving points. So I ask the question: Would I buy this again? The price is excellent, especially when compared to its competitors. I might prefer a stronger finish, but I am working on it. And Ia m still not sure whether I prefer this with or without a drop of water.

However, I am inclined to answer the question positively. Definitely too good to be ignored for long

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