May 242012
 

Bruichladdich Rocks

46% abv

Score:  83/100

 

I’m not sure how a whisky is ‘designed’ to be taken with ice, but that is the spin Bruichladdich has put on ‘Rocks’.  What was different in the engineering of this malt that makes it work against the scientific principles that suggest that a whisky will ‘close up’ by adding ice?  Hm…curiouser and curiouser.

Anyway…moving on.  Regular readers will know by now that my humble thoughts and tasting notes are quite purist.  There is no ‘with water’ or ‘without water’ delineation.  There is no mixing to concoct a cocktail.  There is certainly nowhere on ATW where I suggest you should use ice in whisky.

Irrespective of what Jim McEwan’s (bless ‘im, I love the man) intent was for Rocks, we’ll be going at ‘er in the purest sense possible; room temperature whisky, nosing glass, with a slight agitation of the spirit and proper nosing techniques.  I kind of look at it the same way I look at a well-written song.  You know a song is rock solid when you can jam away at it in all different styles and interpretations and it still sounds good.  If Rocks is a well-made dram, it won’t need ice to make it better.

(Note to self:  “Careful, now, careful…don’t twist an ankle climbing down off your soapbox”)

Fortunately, Bruichladdich has a really good base spirit to work with.  What comes off the stills at Loch Indaal’s rebellious distillery, infamous for its teal/turquoise, is a charming buttery, fruit-rich spirit that is extremely versatile.

Nose…

Young and scrappy, but not bad at all.  Some oxidation works wonders here.  A little chocolate, a little wine.  Some gooseberry and wildflower.  Kinda jammy, and fairly sweet and floral.  Yeasty and peppery.

Palate…

Grapes, pepper and oak.  Mildly tannic and drying.  Pleasant and easy to drink, with a bittersweet barley finish.

I quite came round to this one after a little initial warming-to period.  None too shabby for a young drink.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 9:11 pm

  10 Responses to “Bruichladdich Rocks Review”

  1. What was the bottling date on your sample? I’ve seen a lot of mediocre reviews on this whisky, but LA Whisky and Hansen retasted more modern bottles and upped their ratings significantly. Based on this, I picked up a 2010 bottle (silver label) recently and it is quite good. I would give it an 86+, as it’s nose is very pleasant and the palate is almost as good, esp. the raspberry notes. I would have even rated it higher, but late into the finish I get a slight medicinal tang. Went back to pick up another and all they had were 2011, with the same label as in your picture. Appears Bruichladdich is still having problems with consistency, as I usually grade close to you.

  2. I can’t imagine that you haven’t figured this out by now, Curt (it’s been more than a year), but I’ll say it anyway: “Rocks” does not refer to, or mean to encourage the adding of, ice.

    • Morning, J. Hate to be contrary, but that is EXACTLY what it refers to. Here’s a video of Jim saying “The name Rocks was really to encourage people to drink this with ice,” in the first few seconds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKYNYFhT3wY

      Decent dram, either way, though I certainly do NOT use ice.

      • Curt,

        I beg your pardon! How right you are! It’s hard to argue when the man himself stands there making your case on YouTube.

        Various influences conspired to confuse me–conversations with “experts” (I am a novice, in case that wasn’t apparent), blogs, even the label with its rocks and the tag about the oldest rocks in the world. Nevertheless, the error was mine.

        Let me just say that what you do here is much appreciated.

    • Picked up a 2012 Rocks about 6 months ago. Not the same whisky as the 2010. Too much tannin in the palate and finish. This one would be about an 80 for me.

      Also picked up a Laddie 10 for about the same price, and it was miles better! Definitely a young whisky, but the spirit is very good quality. And the cask adds just the right amount of bourbon characteristics, providing smoothness. I’d like to have Glasier use this in one of his blends! A strong 87!

  3. Curt,

    I beg your pardon! How right you are! It’s hard to argue when the man himself stands there making your case on YouTube.

    Various influences conspired to confuse me–conversations with “experts” (I am a novice, in case that wasn’t apparent), blogs, even the label with its rocks and the tag about the oldest rocks in the world. Nevertheless, the error was mine.

    Let me just say that what you do here is much appreciated.

    J

    • Thanks, J. Kind words.

      The fact that people come here is much appreciated. The dialogue is what makes it ultimately rewarding.

      Regarding the Rocks and it’s meaning: Man…there are so many conflicting stories and sources out there regarding so many whiskies that all we can do is spread the word when we find it and hope others do the same.

      Cheers.

  4. Engineered? Really?

    Me, Me, Me is how this review reads. First time on site via google.

    Not to your liking, fine, however seems like theres a personal dislike here.

    • I think you need to re-read, my friend.

      Let’s start from the top: Of course it is engineered. By Jim. Who said it was to drank with ice. That means designed with a purpose.

      ‘Me, me, me’. Ummmm, yeah. MY site. MY review. MY whisky. Bought with MY money. Am I missing something here? Of course it’s all me. It’s supposed to be.

      Finally…there is no dislike of the whisky. I don’t get the concept, I’ll admit, but I said I like the whisky. “Really good base spirit”, “not bad at all”, “pleasant and easy to drink”, “quite came around to this one” and “none too shabby for a young drink”. Where is the dislike?

      I gave it 83 out of 100. And it’s only a few years old.

      Perhaps you need to suspend your personal agenda and read the review afresh.

  5. I wasn’t expecting to like this one too much because of its supposed engineering to take ice, which made me wonder what the ice was meant to cover up? It’s definitely a young spirit, but I’m really enjoying the flavours here.

    Thanks for the review

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