Here’s another older Laddie. This time a little more naked than many of Bruichladdich’s previously offered mature expressions.
In 2012 the distillery launched a revitalized age-stated range consisting of the Laddie Ten (composed entirely of stocks produced by the current team!), the Laddie Sixteen (from distillate produced under the former owners) and the Laddie Twenty Two (also made by the forebears). I remember reading that this was to be the distillery’s core offerings going forward. There were immediate questions, of course, primarily regarding how a core range could be built around finite mature stocks, when there was a substantial gap in production between the old owners and the new. But…we drank and were happy for a while.
Sadly, not long following, the news leaked that this trifecta was being pulled from the range due to supply issues. No surprise (well, the removal of the Laddie Ten was a surprise), but infinitely disappointing nevertheless. Was this all a matter of Bruichladdich’s having underestimated demand or was this trio merely the ‘next-man-up’ iteration of the Laddie DNA, and an affirmation that previous mutterings about this being the core range were nonsense? I dunno. Either way, if you didn’t stock up at the time, chances are good that you’re most likely out of luck now.
While this 22 year old raises all sorts of questions about the distillery’s mature stock, concepts of core range and plans for future mature releases, it shows what Bruichladdich can be (and should aspire to!) when just left alone to mellow in a clean oak barrel. Nice whisky, this, very nice.
The Laddie Twenty Two is what I dream Bruichladdich will be once again in a few years. Mature, soft, unpeated (or at least only mildly so) and as sweet and tasty as salt water taffy. Here’s hoping production grows to where it outstrips demand for a while and some of this malt is left to mellow for a couple decades.
If you can find a shop with any of the remaining bottles, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger. Highly recommended.
Nose: Quite soft. Lemon meringue and banana cream pie. Herbal with some pepper and ginger. Very soft fruits in the vein of faint peach and melon. Vanilla ice cream. Soft grains and sugar cookies. Slightly briny. Soft and impressive.
Palate: Like toothpicks soaked in lemon juice. Soft dessert notes. Candied ginger. A touch of orange and more herbal notes…almost Sauvignon Blanc-ish. A little more fruit, but not sure what exactly. A little wine-ish at the back end, but not overpowering.
Thoughts: Great (and far too drinkable) example of older Bruichladdich.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt