[Review] Bruichladdich - 17 years old (bottled in the 1990's) 43% CBTD

Back from holidays and I guess it's time to get back to it. I've been meaning to review this one a few weeks ago but time seems to have vanished way too quickly!

So this mid-August review is another sample from the brilliant company Cheaper By The Dram. For those who wouldn't have read my Macallan 1989 head-to-head from the 24/03/2020 (available here), in which I introduce the company in more detail, Cheaper By The Dram allows whisky enthusiasts to purchase 3cl samples of old and rare, discontinued whiskies, bottles which are incredibly hard to find and therefore not generally cheap... This one is no exception, being an official 1 liter bottle of Bruichladdich 17 years old bottled in the 1990's. By doing simple maths, yes, it is very likely that the juice inside this little bottle came to exist in the 1970's, so way before me!

Being an Islay single malt, you would expect peat to appear in the mix, but Bruichladdich doesn't tend to be that peaty unless the label states it or the bottle is called Port Charlotte instead. Considering the distillery was mothballed between 1994 and 2000, this old 17 years old was produced and release before Murray McDavid took over and Jim McEwan became master distiller.

Picture courtesy of Cheaper By The Dram

So let's dive in! As I said, it is 17 years old and bottled at 43%. This is sample No19 in the CBTD releases. There is no information regarding filtration or colouring but the colour of the whisky is quite pale gold which leads me to think there is either no E150 or very little in there.

Nose: Sweet and fruity, a mix of peach and citrus fruit, oranges, white grapes, melon and vanilla. There is also some greener notes, a little toffee and barley. With a bit of time you start to get more wood spice.

Palate: It is sweeter than the nose, quite syrupy, treacle, barley sugar, toffee, a little spice and oak, The fruitiness of the nose is not really present as much on the palate. After a while, I statr to get a bit of ginger bitterness and bitter orange.

Finish: Medium length. The wood comes out more on the finish. Quite drying with some oak spice. Again a touch of bitter orange but it's very much in the background.

With water: Wow! Water accentuates the fruit on the nose with a full on fruit salad! Peaches, oranges, orange blossom, melon, mirabelle plums, some coconut with a dusting of icing sugar! Some of that fruit reappears a little more on the palate alongside touches of aniseed. The aniseed lingers onto the finish with some fruity notes too. I am not the best fan of adding a little water normally especially when the whisky is bottled at 40/43% but a few drops have worked an absolute treat here, tying in nose/palate/finish nicely together!

Another wonderful dram from yesteryear which I would never have been able to try hadn't it been for Mark and Cheaper By The Dram! Without water, I find there is a pretty big gap between nose and palate but give it a few drops and it fully comes to life! An experience definitely worth trying!


For more info about the company:


If you want to order your own (before there are none left!):

https://cheaperbythedram.co.uk/product/no-19/  (£19/3cl)


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