Bruichladdich Scottish Barley (The Classic Laddie)

Bruichladdich’s new ‘classic’ expression reviewed.

Bruichladdich Distillery produces some of the most recognisable Islay expressions and anyone who has more than a passing interest in whisky will recognise (and probably tasted) some of their products.

This success is in part due to the distinct branding of the ‘Progressive Hebridean Distillers’ and partly due to the ambition of their Master Distiller Jim McEwan, who held his last Feis Ile Masterclass this morning before he retires in July.

The Bruichladdich Classic Laddie is the current ‘signature’ bottling; an unpeated expression which replaces the much loved Laddie 10.

It carries no age statement and is bottled at 50% ABV.


Golden straw.


Light and sweet, the nose carries a little oily saltiness but the predominant smell is a creamy oaty sweetness.

Initially this is quite cereal-based, but gets richer with a little time and creme brulee flavours come in after a period. Hints of sugared lemon also appears.


Despite the 50% bottling strength, this is remarkably drinkable neat with a lovely rich mouthfeel.

A slight green apple sweetness at the start, with hints of seaweed salt also appearing.

The oat sweetness develops in your mouth before the finish comes in, a little more robust than you might expect with some char smoke and a pleasant dryness.

Adding water smooths things out as you’d expect, revealing soft lemon sweetness and more vanilla.


This is a great whisky, bringing lovely cereal and oak sweetness and just enough salt and dryness to keep things interesting.

Although it’s a non-age statement expression, the bottling strength of 50% gives plenty to work with and the quality of the spirit is confirmed when the flavours are retained after water is added.

Islay has built it’s reputation on the big, bold peaty monster whiskies, however there are a number of unpeated gems also produced and the Classic Laddie is one of them; a classic indeed.

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