Bruichladdich 12 Years Review (First Edition)

“Vanilla Fudge”

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bruichladdich 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 12 Years (First Edition)
ABV: 46 %
Chill Filtration: No

Colour: Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose: Sweet with a huge Vanilla kick upfront. It' s been a while since I got such a clear and strong Vanilla Aroma. No Smoke to be found in this Islay. No classic straight forwarded Peat as well although I get some musty Cooked Vegetables and Grassy notes that remind me of Jura. They do tend to diminish over time. There are not that many Aromas to be found on the Nose of this Bruichladdich but the ones that I get are crystal clear. Next to the Vanilla these are Pineapple and Coconut Milk. I also get hints of Pear in Heavy Syrup, Milk Chocolate, Malt, Heather-Honey, Citrus, Dough, Toffee and light Oak in the form of Wood pellets. The Alcohol is quite nicely integrated. To sum it up, the Bruichladdich 12 Years does show some clear notes on the Nose but it's also a bit simple and certainly uneventful. 

Palate: Barley, Vanilla, Oak, Butterscotch, Pineapple, Coconut, Caramel, Toffee, light Orange, Caramel, Mint, Salt, Pepper and Ginger.   

Finish: Middle-Long, slightly Oily and Medium Creamy with Toasted Barley, Oak, Pear, Apple, light Orange, Toffee, Vanilla, Butter, Herbs (Mint), Pepper, Salt and Ginger.

The Bruichladdich 12 Years does not improve with added Water.

Rating: 81.5   

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks: Bruichladdich was founded in 1881 by Barnett Harvey. The distillery changed hands various times over the years. It stopped producing from 1929 to 1936, from 1983 to 1993 and from 1995 to 2001 although it did produce a couple of months in 1998. In the year 2000 the distillery was bought by Murray McDavid who brought Bruichladdich back on the Whisky map. He did this so successfully that he was able to sell the distillery in 2012 to the French spirit giant Remy Cointreau. The 12 Years First Edition I'm tasting today was bottled somewhere between 2003 and 2005. This means it was likely distilled in the early nineties. A Second Edition was also launched but both editions are now discontinued. Some bottles of the 1st edition are still around at prices that vary between 60 and 150 US Dollars (May 2016). The 12 Years 1st Edition matured in Ex-Bourbon Casks made of both Spanish and American Oak.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good   

Conclusion: The Nosing and Tasting of this Bruichladdich left me disappointed. The same occurred when I tasted The Laddie 10. They are not bad whiskies but I completely miss the Wow factor. I rated the 10 Years slightly higher as I found it a little less boring. With respect to the 12 Years there are 3 special features that caught my attention. On the plus side I really liked the clearness of the Vanilla, Pineapple and Coconut Milk on the Nose. On the minus side I could easily live without that slightly musty Cooked Vegetables Aroma that I also find in most of the Jura Malts. And I think the Oak is quite present for a 12 Year old. Bruichladdich recently withdrew all remaining vintage Malts (10, 16 and 22 Y) from the market. They are now only available at the distillery. And the 12 years has been discontinued. So all we can do now is wait for the first 10 or 12 year old Bruichladdich produced under the new owners. Unless all Spirit is used for assorted NAS expressions of course! 

Jan van den Ende                                                                        May 5, 2016

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