**What follows will perhaps be the least impartial review I am likely to write. I am a big fan of Bruichladdich and their Laddie 10 expression rates in my all time top drams. I will try my best to remain subjective…**
I love Bruichladdich. If had had to pick one distillery to limit my whisky purchases to this may be it (other contenders are Mortlach and Clyneslish) The Laddie 10 was the first whisky I ever bought for myself and was the start of my collection. When my son arrived I opened a 2001 bottling of a Bruichladdich 20.
I was sent some samples of the new Laddie 8 and Port Charlotte 8 travel retail exclusives some time ago and had set them aside for some time until I could spare the time to enjoy them. Unfortunately time passed rather quickly and I find myself several months down the line and only just getting round to noting them. Anyway, without any further ado…
Bruchladdich 8y.o, OB, 50%abv, travel retail only.
The nose is fresh and coastal. Apples, mango and a crisp green apple sharpness make for an inviting aroma. The palate is intially slightly briney but this soon fades to leave salted toffee, grapefruits and a fresh, grassy minerality. There is also a slight oakyness here too. Reminiscent of the sort of crispness you get from a dry white wine. The finish is a mixture of by now, gentler brine notes, mixed with pineapples (hereinafter referred to as brine-apples) and fades to a gentle woody note.
This, despite the 50%abv, is quite delicate, fresh and clean. I had almost boycotted any younger versions of my favourite but perhaps I might be tempted by a bottle of this…
Port Chalotte, 8yo, OB, 57.8%abv, travel retail only.
Despite Port Charlotte being a heavily peated expression this seems quite restrained. I was expecting the combination of cask strength, heavy peat and young age to be quite aggressive. It appears I was wrong. The nose is peated, but with a white ash and coastal undertone along with a slight hint of fruity sweetness. The palate is where it starts to get much more peaty. There is a strong wood note and a warming spice feeling alongside an almost salty bacon type character. The finish is much the same with the flavours lingering for a while, warming the mouth whilst they slowly disappear. As you would expect this mellows quite significantly with water. 57%+ certainly requires a wee splash.
Another great release and an example of restrained peat within a balanced dram.