Bruichladdich 1986-1996, 57.2% – Scott’s Selection

So, three days ago I talked about starting off 2023 with reviews of some Islay whiskies. Somehow, in my mind this transformed into a week of ‘old’ Islay whiskies and that is obviously not something I can keep up. There are a few more that I haven’t written notes for yet, but to have whisky on a workday at 10 am doesn’t seem to set the correct precedent for the year to come.

Anyway, Bruichladdich from years ago. These drams are the epitome of hit-or-miss. Sometimes you have something really good and rather unique in the world of whisky, and sometimes you have the most watery barley juice with alcohol you can imagine. Some samples indicated why it wasn’t a bad idea to close the distillery back in the day, and some prove how much of a mistake that was.

Image from Whiskybase

I guess, in the grand scheme of things, you need a proper reboot to start doing things differently, instead of plodding on and trying to tweak things as you go. Let’s see where this one ends up.

Sniff:
It starts with a strange combination of warm vanilla custard, shortbread biscuits, and a whiff of violets (without being perfumy!). Hay, barley, a bit of coastal salinity.

Sip:
The palate is surprisingly gentle, with only a tiny hint of white pepper for a bit of heat. There’s barley, white oak and a hint of vanilla, much less vanilla than on the nose. Grassy with a floral note, like daisies.

Swallow:
The finish has all the notes from before, but shows more salinity, and has a bit of a sherbet-y note that is not atypical for Bruichladdich

A true old fashioned Bruichladdich, showing all the weirdness and idiosyncrasy of the distillery. There are some floral notes with a dairy touch, it’s coastal, and it’s old fashioned. You won’t hear me complaining about things like this, until the floral notes turns into 1980s-Bowmore-laundry-detergent. Lovely stuff, this!

88/100

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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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