Bruichladdich 16, 2003-2020, 51.7% – Malts of Scotland

Over the years I have developed a soft spot for Bruichladdich. Especially ‘normal’ Bruichladdich.

Normal Bruichladdich without the heaps of peat from Octomore and, to a lesser extent, Port Charlotte.

Normal Bruichladdich without the exponential amount of weird casks used over the years. Normal bourbon and sherry casks that show the spirit as well as the maturation.

Then, when a sixteen year old version is released by respectable bottler ‘Malts of Scotland’, my interest peaked a little bit. Especially since it ‘only’ cost € 90.

I was planning on buying a bottle when we had to buy a new car, months ahead of schedule, a new washing machine out of the blue, and there were some other setbacks. So the bottle was never bought. Luckily, RvB bought one and was willing to sell me a sample. Good times!

What I also like is that this has a rather timid amount of alcohol for a not-so-old bourbon cask. It’s rather close to the (to me) ideal 50%, actually.

Image by Van Zuylen

It starts off slightly floral, with even a whiff of soap. That’s a tad scary, but it shifts quickly into lots of malt. Barley is the name of the game. There’s some coastal salinity, oak and earthy charcoal. Wet blue clay too.

The palate is a bit more hot than I expected. It’s dry as well, and dusty. Quite some wood and sawdust, with again the wet clay. Straw, charcoal and earthy.

The finish carries on the malt driven focus of the nose and palate, with the very earthy style this whisky displays.

I was a bit scared with the hint of soap on the nose, but that evaporated very quickly. The rest is a very malt driven distillate, which is not too surprising if you know they’re also doing Islay Barley and Bere Barley releases.

The fact that it was aged properly, and then that it’s available at a very decent price makes me a happy camper!


Bruichladdich 16, 2003-2020, Bourbon Barrel MoS 20014, 51.7%, Malts of Scotland. Available for € 90 at Van Zuylen


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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