Booze Review

Whisky Review – Bruichladdich Vertical Tasting

Two weeks ago, G-LO purchased the Bruichladdich Ten, and I purchased the Bruichladdich Twenty as fitting drams for our tribute to the Whisky Dog. Several days after our tribute, I took a quick inventory of the whisky vault and uncovered a small sample of the Bruichladdich Pedro Ximénez 17, a long ago purchase from Master of Malt.  Since we now had three unique Bruichladdich expressions in our possession, I thought a vertical tasting was in order. The 17 and the Twenty were distilled prior to Bruichladdich’s closure in 1994, while the Ten is the first release from Bruichladdich since the distillery was reassembled under the watchful eye of Master Distiller Jim McEwan.

On this particular night, I took the vertical tasting on the road and stopped by G-LO’s for a bit of collaborative research on these three expressions. Here are our findings…

The Laddie Ten



Appearance: Straw and golden colored like a light beer. Light amber color.
Aroma: Sweet with hints of caramel, butterscotch and toffee. A combination of sweet and herbal notes. Light brown sugar. Honey. Fresh cut grass. Menthol. Some mustiness and hints of smoke in the background. Adding a touch of water brings out a bit of licorice.
Taste: Sweet, candied, syrupy with a big hit of alcohol followed by a nice, warm burn that lasts long into the finish. Slightly oily mouthfeel. Coats the middle of your tongue at first. Starts off slightly sweet with hints of toffee and possibly some caramel. At mid-palate, pepper and cinnamon heat takes over. The spiciness builds, but never overwhelms. Peppery and wintergreen heat in the finish. The flavors linger for quite some time and leaves your mouth all warm and tingly.

17 Pedro Ximénez



Appearance: Deep, deep red. Deep reddish amber color.
Aroma: Sweet, almost rummish, with a deep hint of fruitiness (raisins, dried cherries). A smell of dark rum with hints of raisins, caramel, nutmeg and vanilla.
Taste: Sweet, refined, no hint of alcohol in the finish. No whisky burn, just a little warm feeling. Just a nice whisky you would want to dram after dram. Exceptionally smooth. Very easy drinking. Starts off sweet, reminding one of a crème brûlée with that creamy vanilla custard, followed by the caramelized sugar. It heats up a bit in the middle but not excessively so. Ends with a warm, sweet/spicy finish that warms your mouth, and leaves a pleasant aftertaste of Christmas cakes.

The Twenty



Appearance: Deep Amber Honey Amber.
Aroma: Sweet butterscotch, with a slight hint of alcohol. A bit syrupy with a faint hint of dried fruit. Strong hit of alcohol at the outset with hints of spiced apple, cinnamon, and burnt sugar.
Taste: Sweet, fruity with a hint of soft smoke, not peat but smoke. Less refined than the 17 with more alcohol in the finish. More of the whisky burn with a warm, toasty finish. Slightly oily mouthfeel. A bit of the brine in the beginning, backed with some dried fruit sweetness and a moderate amount of cinnamon spice. Ends with a medium, warming finish. Overall, not as overpowering as the nose would suggest. Well balanced and easy drinking.

Since all of the whiskies had an ABV of 46%, it was interesting to see how differently each expression manifested its alcohol content. While not overly patting myself on the back, it was my lucky find from Master of Malt that won the evening. With its complex variety of flavors, and a finish that was truly exceptional, the Pedro Ximénez 17 was the clear winner.

17 replies »

  1. This is great … and oh how jealous you have made me! Love Bruichladdich – it’s so nice that you have true whisky-friends close by for all of the sharing and tastings. Another great review!


    • I’m still not sure if it is good or bad that we live within a short stumble. Although, it does provide for some great entertainment and an opportunity to share some outstanding whisky and beer.


      • Good = Entertainment + Outstanding Beer and Whiskey
        Bad = The Wrath of the Wives When We Get Out of Hand + Possible Cirrhosis

        I’d say that’s a pretty good trade off. Let’s imbibe with aplomb!


  2. I don’t know about these “True Whisky-Friends” that TWW speaks of. It seems that my invitation to this tasting got lost in the mail.

    And what happened to the DFH tasting that was in the making? Did I miss that one too or am I on double secret probation or something??


    • No way Wookie. If I remember correctly, this was one of Limpd’s classic, post 11:30, last minute drinking sessions, and I believe you threw in the towel. But don’t quote me on that.

      Not sure what’s happening with the DFH tasting. Has not happened yet. I believe he was thinking post New Years.

      And as far as Double Secret Probation goes, I believe that you are in the clear. For now.


    • This will teach you to tap out. I have enough sample bottles that should allow for a Balvenie vertical and a Glenmorangie vertical (might actually be more horizontal). Also, before we can have the DFH tasting, we will need your keen skills to make some tasting mats (and for the oak aged tasting as well).


  3. Am salivating over the bottles. Such a shame to throw those gorgeous high end whisky bottles in the recycling bin when they’d melt down into some great serving dishes.


    • You’re right. It would be a shame to throw away such a pretty bottle. The Wookie has mentioned on numerous occasions about turning the empties into desk lamps. While I really like the desk lamp idea, you’re idea is also quite intriguing. Perhaps a bit of collaboration is in order! We drink the whisky (it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!), and when we’re done, we’ll ship you the empties. Totally serious by the way. Sound like a plan?


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