Review: Bruichladdich Organic 2003, Links 15, Oloroso Sherry Edition 1998, and Peat
Islay’s Bruichladdich keeps pumping out whisky faster that I can drink it. Here’s a look at four recently-released expressions from the vaunted distillery.
Bruichladdich Organic 2003 – A young whisky — it’s unclear exactly how young since the spirit carries no age statement, but it’s 7 years old at most — this light spirit is Islay’s first organic whisky. Very light color and body, with a quietly peaty body. The whisky’s floral character is hidden below all this smoke, but it comes off as rough and a little unbalanced. I liked this far more at Whiskies of the World, and I can see that some time with air helps the Organic considerably. 92 proof. B- / $50
Bruichladdich Links 15 Years Old Valhalla – One of many expressions in the Links series, this ruddy whisky is aged in bourbon barrels and Barsac wine casks. A very traditional whisky, with light smoke, sweet vanilla, and a citrus and caramel finish. A solid choice for an everyday whisky, though on the expensive side. 92 proof. B+ / $75
Bruichladdich Oloroso Sherry Edition 10 Years Old 1998 – To give you an idea of how much whisky Bruichladdich is putting out, it has released four different whiskys aged in four different types of sherry casks. This one is from old Oloroso sherry casks, where it spent 10 long years. The color is extremely dark, and the spirit has a rich, obviously sherried, character. It’s probably too much, with big wood notes, a light peat tonality, and a deep, raisin-inflected orange citrus finish. It veers pretty far away from Scotch, to be honest, but it’s a unique experience to be sure. 92 proof. B+ / $110
Bruichladdich Peat – I expect the name is a giveaway. Bruichladdich doesn’t normally do big peat. Here, it does. Big time. This is a whisky that tastes like you smell after you come home from a barbecue. It’s heavily smoky, and with an oily sweetness, not a phenolic one a la Laphroaig. No age statement, and it probably wouldn’t matter if it had one. This is a whisky for the peat lover, one who doesn’t mind how far over the top the spirit goes. B- / $55