Founded in 1881 by the Harvey family and brought back to life by Mark Reynier, Jim McEwan, and company in 2001, Bruichladdich's first spirit to flow forth from the stills after the rebirth is designed to reach back to the distillery's past. Lightly peated at 10ppm and served up at a hearty 46% ABV, it is hard to believe that this whisky spent just 7 years in the cask.
Nose: Instantly rich dried fruits and a distinct nuttiness appear. This followed by a unique combination of oak, salt air, and light peat all laid out atop a soft undercurrent of vanilla. Adding a splash of water helps diminish the punch without reducing the aromas.
Palate: The rich mouthfeel surprises those who know its true age and fools those who don't. Rolling in like an Islay tide, the peat notes evoke the char on a properly cooked steak prior to giving way to sweet salted honey and malt elements. This is all matched with a light toasted oak woodiness to wonderful effect.
Finish: Delightfully dry, yet sweet. The oak lingers while vanilla notes pop up over a twist of smoke that leaves me thinking of a post barbecue dessert.
Overall: A blatant steal at $66.90 in the LCBO, this 7 year old whisky delivers the presence of some 12 year old drams. It exhibits all of the elements of a classic Islay malt but with more fruit and less peat than many have come to expect from the island's distilleries. So what's my final verdict? Well, I'm picking up another bottle tomorrow if that tells you anything.