Thursday, 5 July 2018

A Friendly Dram: Bruichladdich Classic Laddie Scottish Barley

Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief. 

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Whisky is evocative. Sipping a whisky, or even thinking about a whisky you've enjoyed inevitably leads you to form certain associations. When I think of Lagavulin 16 Year Old, I think of Nick Offerman sitting in a leather armchair by a fireplace, looking stolidly into the camera. Jack Daniel's Old No.7 immediately brings Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister to mind. I can't look at a bottle of Bushmills without thinking of James Joyce's Ulysses.
Marketing types know this and they bank on it. Telling someone "This whisky tastes good. It tastes like good whisky." would undoubtedly be a marketing disaster, like something out of the brilliant Ricky Gervais film The Invention of Lying. But if your website includes notes on character, colour, nose, palate, finish and mood, maybe you're on to something. Hold on, mood? Yes, Bruichladdich describes their Classic Laddie's mood as:

Conviviality! Relaxed, enjoying the spirit in the glass and the laughter from tales often told but never tired of hearing.

I've wanted to try this particular Bruichladdich (you can say "Brook-laddie" or listen to Brian Cox's pronunciation here) for a long time but I've been reluctant to pull the trigger without trying it first. I tend to like Islay scotches, but this one is unpeated, so I hadn't taken the plunge. Luckily, a friend opened a bottle of the Classic Laddie Scottish Barley this past weekend and I got to sample it. This whisky was sipped outside on a hot summer day and it feels like the appropriate setting for the Classic Laddie.

Tasting Notes

There's a good Laddie.

  • Nose (undiluted): Very floral (daisies? violets?), briny, a bit of lemon, and some earthy notes despite the fact that this is unpeated
  • Palate (undiluted): medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel, not all that hot for a whisky bottled at 50% ABV, a bit darker in flavour than I expected, with brown sugar, nuttiness, malty with a bit of fruitiness at the tail end, white grapes perhaps.
  • Finish: medium length with the brine returning, a little mint note, it was (dare I say it?)"refreshing".

With water, there were more fruity notes coming through, mostly lemon and cherries on the nose and some green apples and a bit of honeydew melon on the palate. The nutty notes are there with and without water. I would call it walnut, but it didn't have the slightly bitter, drying feel that walnuts sometimes have. Walnuts without their skins, maybe? Forgive me if that sounds über-pretentious.

This feels like a summer whisky. Maybe it's the marketing schtick or the turquoise bottle, but it's definitely reminiscent of the seaside. It also feels like a whisky you want to sip with friends. It's not super complex, but it is not bland mixing whisky either. It's certainly no surprise that this is a young whisky (most of what went into this particular vatting is 7-8 years old according to the bottling code/website information) but it's a young whisky that's well-balanced. Everything is nicely integrated. Bonus points to Bruichladdich for bottling at a respectable strength (50% ABV) and extra bonus points for bottling at a natural colour, no E150a thank you very much. Having tried The Classic Laddie, I will probably buy a bottle sometime in the future. It's not a game-changer, but it's a very friendly whisky. Recommended.

Rating: 3.5/5 moustaches

Everything in moderation, including moderation.
Oscar Wilde



  1. It's about time. Lol
    Great review, I personally love this stuff!

    1. I liked it too. Not life-changing for me, but I’d definitely buy a bottle without hesitation.