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Bruichladdich's Multi-Vintage Malts

by Gavin D Smith, 08/08

The Islay distillery of Bruichladdich is noted for its regular and innovative releases, some of which break the supposed 'rules' associated with single malts.

'Multi-vintages' have been pioneered by Mark Reynier, Jim McEwan and the rest of the 'Laddie' team and three new additions to the line-up were unveiled last month.

Reynier's background is in the wine trade and he refers to every expression as a cuvée, noting that "Each is masterfully assembled by whisky legend Jim McEwan from several ages of Bruichladdich single malt, from different cask types and diverse whisky characteristics."

The multi-vintage concept originated with Champagne's Remi Krug, who memorably declared "With a single vintage, it is God who decides on the quality. But with a multi-vintage, I am God."

The trio of new Bruichladdichs have been christened Rocks, Waves and Peat, and Mark Reynier says "They had evolved haphazardly. We have brought them together under one umbrella, new bottlings, each with its own distinct identity and flavour profile."

the whiskies

Bruichladdich, Rocks (Scotland)
For the first expression in Bruichladdich’s new Multi-Vintage Trilogy, master distiller Jim McEwan selected casks of varying ages and allowed the whisky in them an additional period of maturation in casks that had previously held French red wine. The nose is very fresh, slightly floral and spicy, with pineapple and coconut. Big and fruity in the mouth, with sweet, eating apples, vanilla and mulled wine notes. The finish is long and toffee-like, with mild oak. According to Mark Reynier, "Rocks is the classic aperitif cuvée - minimal peat, so deliciously fresh and fruity - with a surprisingly sophisticated flavour profile thanks to the French oak cask influences." 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £24.00, distillery website.
Bruichladdich, Waves (Scotland)
For ‘Waves’ Jim McEwan has reduced the peating level by comparison with its predecessor, and blended together various ages of whisky from ex-Bourbon and ex-Madeira casks. Fresh and lively on the nose, with enticing spices, tropical fruits and a background whiff of smoke. Rich, full-bodied and mouth-coating, with stewed fruits, dates and even a sprig of mint on the palate, plus emerging notes of sweet peat. The finish is medium to long, with spicy, gentle peat notes. Mark Reynier says "Waves is mildly peaty at around 15ppm, beguilingly elegant with oodles of Bruichladdich finesse and fruit. A real anytime of day dram." 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £30.00, distillery website.
Bruichladdich, Peat (Scotland)
'Peat' has been created to showcase the unique, heavily peated Bruichladdich style, where the heavier sea iodine flavours that can dominate other Islay peated whiskies is subdued and made more elegant by the distillery's Victorian long-necked stills. The lively, zesty, lemony 'core' characteristics of Bruichladdich interact nicely with powerful, sweet peat notes on the nose. The palate yields a lovely balance of sweet, spicy pears and vanilla with peat which lacks the medicinal notes usually associated with Islay. The medium-length finish offers slightly peppery peat, meshed with drying oak. "Peat does what it says on the tin," declares Mark Reynier. "It replaces the 3D range, and has been toned down a bit, with an average peatiness of around 35ppm. Plenty of peat but without the medicine." 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £30.00, distillery website.

  

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