Yesterday was International Scotch Day, an initiative launched by Diageo last year, but now already, a much wider celebration of all things Scotch whisky. Whilst Diageo has opened many of its distilleries to offer free of charge tours (from the 8th through to the 11th), a wide variety of events, tastings and online celebrations also took place. Of course, never one to miss out on a party, I wandered in to the bar to find a suitable dram to raise a glass with. After much umming and ahhing I returned with The Laddie Twenty Two.
The Laddie Twenty Two was originally released in 2012, with a second batch produced a year later. But, along with the Laddie’s Sixteen and Ten, sadly discontinued. The popularity of Bruichladdich has had a warping influence on their plans for a core range of age-statement bottlings – in that they’ve all sold out far too quickly to actually maintain said core range. The Laddie Ten was temporarily rereleased a few years back as a limited edition run of 18K bottles, but there is pressure is still on the Islay distillery's aged-stocks. As such, those of you looking for official baby blue bottles with numbers on best key your eyes open as they don’t tend to stick around for long.
The Laddie Twenty Two has been matured in 100% American oak for….yep, you guessed it. It’s bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Light, fresh and packed full of sweet honey and hay. Unripe apples, honeydew melon and Comice pears provide a fruity beginning and are joined by aromas of deep polish, vanilla and light ginger. Running through the nose is a big earthy vein – wet hays and soils, but in particular earthy minerality – it’s sharp and a touch salty too. The addition of water adds some new flavours into the mix - tea, oranges and barley water. A really welcoming nose.
Taste: Big fruit, big sweetness, big impact. A rich arrival delivers juicy fruits – peaches, bananas, and pears in particular – these are sweetened by honey and toffee. The cask influence is much more perceptible on the palate – vanilla, ginger and some really tingly pepperiness. The underlying maltiness of the whisky now reveals itself (and moreso with a period of resting), and again, is joined by a little salinity. Water pronounces the fruity elements even further but reduces the development time – I’d personally stick to 46% for this one – it’s just perfect as it is.
Finish: Medium with some sharp citrus in the tail and a good grind of pepper too.
The Bruichladdich Twenty Two is excellent whisky well worth seeking out. The maturation of the liquid has been extremely well judged – the American oak soothing and coaxing the spirit over 22 years rather than beating it over the head with the vanilla-stick. The end result is fresh, lively an packed full of balanced flavours and nuances that develop over time in the glass. Still available in a few outlets, but you’ll be paying a bit of a premium for it over the original RRP. Nevertheless, this is one to add to your ‘must try’ list.
But don't take our word for it..
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