Ahhh…provenance. What’s it worth really? No distillery places more worth in this concept than our friends at Bruichladdich. We’re not talking about terroir here. No, no. We’re discussing the idea that the prime marketing tool for some of these ‘Laddies is the fact that they have ties so deep to the island (Islay) that they become almost the purest expression of an Islay malt.
Is this so? Well…in some ways, yes. In others…no.
There is an absolutely unbreakable metaphysical connection many malters draw between the briny, citric, smoky, iodine-rich peat reek of brands such as Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig and their beloved mecca of Islay. These smells (from the moment the bottle is uncorked) are the truest sensory picture that can be drawn to help describe the island.
This, to some of us, is the ultimate in provenance.
On the other hand, how about a distillery that can claim roots back as far as 1881 and has boldly (and very VERY loudly) proclaimed its ties to the land? This is a distillery that employees many, many locals…that sources barley locally…that plasters its packaging with the images of places and people of Islay…that works to a minimal environmental footprint…that retains even the act of bottling on the island…and on and on. This is a distillery that has declared such a fierce pride in its home that it is simply not possible to not like ’em.
Now…one step further. These Islay Barley releases are farm specific. That means that not only is the barley Islay barley, but it is specific to one, and only one, of the island’s farmers. This is what ‘Laddie are calling Uber-Provenance. And I f*cking love it.
Pure. Heartwarming. Refreshing. In this, the day and age of Roseisle…to see something so…anti-commercial (yet paradoxically commercial in and of itself) is a thing of joy.
So…do we like this one? Quite.
Nose: Young grains. Buttery with vanilla, cranberry and faux white chocolate. Fruit candies. Lightly floral. Lemon pledge. Fresh orange. Vanilla fudge. A young clean oaky malt.
Palate: Malty grains. Peppery, grassy and zesty. Wax and oak. Kinda bitters along the sides of the tongue…almost tannic feeling and quite drying.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt