Sorting Bruichladdich expressions

I have been spending a lot of time reading about the expressions that are no longer available, and trying to compare them in my mind to the ones I have tasted, or that I own. I can see the range splitting into “legacy” Bruichladdich (i.e., stuff they are bottling that pre-dated the current owners) and “future” Bruichladdich.

The neat thing about whisky in my mind is that it cultivates patience. All of the activity that starts in the malting floor and distillery and ends on the bottling line involves mostly a lot of waiting. Sometimes whisky moves to a different type of barrel for aging in a different environment, but it mostly just sits in a warehouse until it’s ready.

Bruichladdich has earned a reputation for light, floral whiskies that (to my mind) are great all-purpose whiskies. They are not “typical” Islay’s by any stretch of the imagination.

For the “legacy” range, I can sort them into the “tame” and “feisty” categories. This is a high-level sort. I think that numerically, most are in the former sub-category. Reviewers give these pretty decent marks, ranging to excellent marks. I personally don’t put much stock in reviewers: I think that you are the ultimate reviewer. If you like something, then it’s good. What you need to know at that point is whether another product is similar. A friend in Chicago just bought the 3D3 and it’s in the latter (i.e., highly reviewed). I can’t wait to hear what he thinks of it. Tomorrow, I’ll type in all the names of the expressions I know and categorize them this far. Further categorization may emerge.

The “future” Bruichladdich’s are things like the Port Charlotte brand, the Octomore brand, and the extremely potent quadruple-distilled “X4 – PERILOUS WHISKY.” You know, it’s clear that these guys are having a hell of a lot of fun! I am sure that these aren’t the only types of new make spirit being produced. I imagine that there will be some future Bruichladdich expressions that are reflective of the floral styles that have been produced to date. But the ones I listed just above are clearly on the more unique end of the scale. Octomore (then Octomore II) gives a new meaning to “peaty,” and Port Charlotte is no slouch in this department. Definitely feisty!

Given the evident innovative spirit (pun intended) on display to date, I imagine that future Bruichladdich expressions will defy concise classification. However, as they say, there’s no expectation that anyone except a collector would try to acquire them all. As the “legacy” Bruichladdich is being used up, there will be ample supply of “future” Bruichladdich ready for bottling. I can’t wait! If I had to hazard a guess, I’d imagine that some truly special casks will be left to age until the angels have taken all they can stand. Lucky bastards! Rather than speculate on what might happen in the future, I’ll focus on what’s available now, and on what’s coming soon.


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