This is the 4th release in the Bruicladdich DNA Series which was distilled in 1985 and bottled in 2007 at 49.3% ABV.
Nose: Bold banana runt notes with a fruit medley (comes off like fruit cake with the spices involved), vanilla pudding, licorice, and strawberry candies.
Palate: Banana cream pie, cocoa, quite malty overall, buttery with toasted oak and berries.
Finish: Finish fades rapidly leaving behind vanilla and tannins.
Rating: 88/100 – Nose and palate remind me of why I really love some Bruichladdich releases – great blend of fruits/spices.
Value for the money: Retail ranges on these from $300-400, and I’ve thought many times about buying this particular bottle from a local store. I was lucky to be able to try it at a tasting this weekend, and I can’t say I’ll be buying it at $300+, but it’s still pretty close for me.
This is a 20 year ex-bourbon Bruichladdich that’s bottled at 51.9% ABV.
Nose: Putty and seaweed up front with anise, cinnamon, honey, and rice noodles.
Palate: Heavy flour/damp noodles here with briny oak and chamomile. After a bit sweeter, more bourbon like flavors emerge with vanilla, brown sugar, and buttercream frosting.
Finish: Waxy malt with floral notes and nice level of oak linger.
Rating: 84/100 – A solid ex-bourbon no-frills Bruichladdich.
Value for the money: These Cadenhead’s small batches tend to be a very good value. This one retailed around $140 I believe which is a bit high – would like to see this closer to $100-$120.
This is an 11 year malt from Bruichladdich’s numbered Port Charlotte series that is a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso maturations bottled at 59.5% ABV.
Nose: Heavy butyric acid notes with old rubber and pencil shavings, burnt hamburger bits, overripe bananas, and massive peat.
Palate: Super phenolic with burnt oak, pungent peat, cured meats, and heavy smoke.
Finish: Very earthy full of massive smoke and ashy peat.
Rating: 82/100 – Good, but a bit one dimensional. I wouldn’t have guessed that there was any Oloroso matured malt in here as the peat just dominates all around. I enjoyed the PC7 release quite a bit more.
Value for the money: This retailed for around $125+ and I think it’s a bit overpriced there compared to some staple peated drams e.g. Lagavulin 16, Ardbeg Uigedail, etc which outperform it in my opinion.
This is a NAS expression from Bruichladdich which was distilled using Bere barley grown on Orkney and bottled at 50% ABV.
Nose: Clean, dominant barley grain notes come through – I imagine this is what fresh milled Bere barley would smell like. Freshly sawn oak with melted butter and a bit of a putty note.
Palate: Very grain forward here as well taking on a lot of new make notes with some varnish, vegetal, and funky oak. I’d venture to guess this is quite young based on the palate.
Finish: The new make notes really leave a weird/unpleasant taste here for me with vinegar, artificial sweetener aftertaste, and some more varnish.
Rating: 70/100 – Reminds me to a degree of the Glenmorangie Tusail in that the grain being so dominant leads to some weird off-putting notes coming through.
Value for the money: It looks like these retail around $65 on EU sites, and I would not pay that for a bottle (especially considering adding in shipping from EU).
This is part 7 of the numbered Port Charlotte series from Bruichladdich. This expression was aged in a combination of sherry and bourbon casks and bottled at 61% ABV.
Nose: Big, bold peat with heavy yeast and fresh dough notes. Maple syrup atop a bed of sheet cake and tres leches with some vanilla pudding and smoke in the background.
Palate: Extremely strong/pungent peat right up front paired with heavy burning leaves/dried grass smoke. Some lemon juice cuts through the smoke with some savory thyme seasoned burnt brisket ends and a bit of cotton.
Finish: Strong peat remains with malt chocolate and a dry smoke.
Rating: 90/100 – The first “PC” release I’ve tried, and it’s one that tends to get most of the hype in my experience (along with PC6). Quite good and way peatier than I was expecting – almost Octomore levels. Lots of interesting notes going on here though which is a pleasant surprise for such strong peat/smoke flavors.
Value for the money: You don’t see these at retail all too often anymore, but when you do, they tend to be around $160 in my experience. I’d pay that for a bottle of this, but not sure I’d pay a whole lot more.
This is a NAS expression from Bruichladdich that is a blend of Port Charlotte and lightly peated ex-sherry Bruichladdich distillate. It’s bottled at 55.5% ABV.
Nose: Upfront it’s mostly rich, fruity sherry heavy in black cherry and currants. Slight ashy peat peeks through with tobacco leaves and dark chocolate.
Palate: Peat has intense bite up front dominating the sherry influence. Sharp oak note cuts through introducing a lot of bitterness. Minimal sherry throughout as the peat is very overwhelming.
Finish: Mostly strong oak and bitter cocoa with peat mellowing out slowly.
Rating: 77/100 – The PC really overtakes whatever sherried distillate was present sadly and becomes a bit out of balance as a result for me.
Value for the money: These are discontinued, but I think they can be found for around $200 or so. It’s an easy pass for me at that price.
This is a 21 year expression from Bruichladdich and is the second release in the Black Art series. Much of what goes in these expressions is a mystery in terms of aging/casks involved. It’s bottled at 49.7% ABV.
Nose: Grape Kool-Aid, dark red wine, old oak, fudge, fruity sherry, burnt match heads, and cherry cola.
Palate: Very oak heavy up front with a funky blend of malt and spices, banana chips, and red hots.
Finish: Very strong malt with loads of sherry, slight sulphur, cinnamon, and cola.
Rating: 87/100 – Definitely interesting – a bit all over the place but in a good way. I enjoyed the 3.1 release quite a bit better.
Value for the money: These retailed for around $200, but secondary is probably closer to $300+ at this point. I’d pass at either price.
This is a 23 year Bruichladdich that was selected by K&L Wines. It was matured in a refill sherry butt and bottled at 54.8% ABV.
Nose: Oddly smoky with heavy citrus and berries. Sherry influence is noticeable but doesn’t overwhelm the nose.
Palate: Clean malt with heavy citrus again – strikes me as similar to the Black Art 3.1 from Bruichladdich with muddled fruits and subtle sherry.
Finish: Bitter with a bit of smoke and tangerine.
Value for the money: These go for around $150, and I don’t think I’d buy another at that price.
This is a discontinued 10 year expression from Bruichladdich. It used to be part of the core lineup before it was discontinued. It’s bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Clean, pure malt with a bit of clay and salt. Prunes with a touch of honey.
Palate: Much spicier than nose presented – malt and spice run rampant with green apple and figs.
Finish: Dry and crisp like a white wine – dry oak and slightly acidic.
Rating: 86/100 – A nice, clean 10 year malt.
Value for the money: These retailed around $45 which I think is a great price.
This is a 5 year expression from Bruichladdich under their Octomore line. The Octomore series is a very heavily peated line that is typically fairly young (5 years in this case). This expression was distilled from Scottish-grown barley and bottled at 57% ABV.
Nose: Huge peat with heavy dose of iodine. Burnt hamburger bits with sawdust and moldy grass.
Palate: Thick peat moss with crispy bacon and smoked meats. Sour oak and burnt leather.
Finish: Peat and bitter oak linger on.
Rating: 84/100 – This isn’t for the faint of heart in the peat department.
Value for the money: These retail close to $200 which is way too much in my opinion. I’d be happy to buy this around $80.