New Products


Bruichladdich has been a relatively new find for me, given that a new whisky takes a while to make it into the (state owned) liquor stores here in New Hampshire. I was first drawn by the magic words on the bottle “non-chill filtered” and “colouring free” on the label. This is typically a sign that the producer cares about the quality of the product rather than the number of units it can sell to the mass market.

The amazing thing is how purist the Bruichladdich distillery is. Having been opened relatviely recently, they are creating many different and new expressions while making sure that they maintain much of the original techniques. There are no computers on the production line, and it is difficult to distinguish their mode of operation compared to, say, a hundred years ago.

For a great introduction to Bruichladdich from the point of view of Managing Director Mark Reynier, check out Single Malt TV (the price of subscription is well worth it for some excellent quality videos and the library is constantly growing). Mark obviously has passion for a great product, that shines through when tasting any of their products. The base 10y.o. is very bright (in colour, aroma and flavour) and has a light refreshing palate. The 15 year old is more robust and more recognizable as an Islay. Each whisky has its own purpose and time of day, and the 10y.o. is a great aperitif.

The main point of this post, however, is the exciting news that the Bruichladdich company are not resting on their laurels and are reopening a distillery in the town of Port Charlotte on Islay. Port Charlotte distillery was open between 1829 and 1929, but recent news is that Mark Reynier and company plan on starting production sometime in the next couple of years. Given the excellent product line from the award winning stable of Bruichladdich, this has to be great news for all whisky lovers. They even purchased a distillery from the mainland and dismantled it for use on Islay. Many of these parts will come to good use when resurrecting Port Charlotte. More information on the Bruichladdich website.

[Correction: According to the Bruichladdich website, Jim McEwan was responsible for the idea of buying the Inverleven ditillery. Thanks Armin for spotting that]

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I mentioned in a previous post that my collection contains two bottlings of Aberlour by Blackadder. Blackadder whiskys are special because the buy casks directly from the distilleries and literally pour them straight into a bottle. The resultant whisky specifies the actual barrel (hogshead) number along with the year of distillation and the year of the bottling.

Because Blackadder avoid the chill filtering process, and also do not blend various ages together for consistency (I’ll talk more about the reason for both of these processes in later posts) the resulting single malt is very inconsistent in terms of colour and flavour but yet has many spectacular characteristics of its own. Each bottle is essentially unique and a masterpiece in its own right, never to be repeated.

I originally got into the Blackadder bottlings around 7 or so years ago after moving to the US. As I was still making a number of flights back to England I was always finding myself in London’s Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 awaiting Virgin Atlantic flight to Boston. Inside Terminal 3 there is a great specialty whisky store, making the wait that much easier. At around the same time I had read about the popularity increase of non-chill filtered single malts and wanted to try it for myself, which lead directly to a purchase of Blackadder Aberlour (Aberlour being my favourite distillery of the time).

As far as I know, that store was the only one in the UK to sell Blackadder bottlings, but shortly after my second purchase I was informed that they were no longer stocking the product. A bit of research showed that the majority of the product was being exported to Sweden of all places, making it a bit out of my reach. Over the last few years Blackadder have finally been extending their reach and at last they have announced an import deal with a US company.

I would encourage anyone that comes across Blackadder for sale to make the purchase. It is a little expensive (I paid a little over $200 per bottle if I remember correctly), but well worth it. Before adding water, the aroma amazingly seems ‘locked in’ to the liquid, but once diluted to a more palatable 35-40% the natural oils in the whisky start to become apparent and the aroma bursts out. The tongue feel is amazing, with a nice smooth and oily feel and a delectably long and smooth finish.

Regarding the two bottlings that I continue to eke out (by only drinking on extra special occasions), even though they are bottled from consecutive hogsheads they are very different in character. #3317 has a soft warm hue, and a smooth flavour with very nice and lengthy finish. #3318 is much lighter, almost clear, and yet has a very punchy flavour and a bright and potent aroma.

I’ll provide tasting notes next time a special occasion comes up. While you will probably not find the same bottling of the same hogshead, it should highlight how different each cask can really be.

More information at www.blackadder.com. Personally I cannot wait to try their Bruichladdich.