For Day 3 of our Master of Malt Islay Festival 2021, we’re celebrating 20 years of the rebirth of Bruichladdich and looking in detail at its special Bruichladdich Laddie Origins Fèis Ìle 2021 bottling. 

We’re at Day 3 of our Master of Malt Islay Festival 2021 and the next stop of our whistle tour around the Inner Hebrides is Bruichladdich. This distillery inspires some serious loyalty among whisky fans since it was revived by Jim McEwan, Mark Reynier et al in 2001. So this the 20th anniversary of the new Bruichladdich, and also its 140th anniversary as the distillery was originally founded in 1881. So many anniversaries. 

Today, it’s famed for doing things just a little bit differently such as experimenting with different types of barley – something Reynier has taken even further with his new venture Waterford in Ireland. But that’s another story. It’s also unusual on Islay for making unpeated whisky but it’s no stranger to smoke either, saving the peat for the Port Charlotte and Octomore brands. 

We try something special from the distillery below, but first here’s a look at the fun going on at the distillery today. And to get you in the island mood, don’t forget to listen to our Islay memories playlist on Spotify and watch our interview above with head distiller Adam Hannett from Fèis Ìle 2019.  Oh, and be sure to check out our daily deals! We’ve got discounts on Octomore 10 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)Port Charlotte 14 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)Bruichladdich Scottish Barley – The Classic Laddie and Bruichladdich 1985/32 – Hidden Glory.

What’s going on today

Well, it’s all a bit mysterious, but seeing as this year marks 20 years of the revived distillery, it’s sure to be a lot of fun. Bruichladdich is promising “one big virtual party to celebrate a whole swathe of anniversaries.” The event is called Times Travellers and you need to register here to find out more. But we do know there are two special bottles: a 10-anniversary cask-aged Botanist gin and a special 57% ABV bottling called Laddie Origins which we’re looking at in detail below. 3,000 bottles have been filled. Both are only available via a ballot from the Bruichladdich site. 

Bruichladdich Feis Ile 2021 - 30th May 2021 Poster Announcement

What is going on at Bruichladdich?

Bruichladdich Laddie Origins Fèis Ìle 2021 release

Here’s a bit of fun. We’ve been sent a sample of 2021’s Laddie Origins alongside six samples that go into this special expression. We aren’t allowed to say exactly what’s in the samples but will say that there’s an interesting mixture of casks, ages, barley types and even distillation techniques. We can’t say anymore. All will be made clear at Adam Hannett’s masterclass which is taking place at 2pm. It’s all booked up but we’ll update when we are allowed. 

So without further ado here’s what we thought:

Bruichladdich Laddie Origins Fèis Ìle 2021 tasting notes

ABV: 57%

Colour: Mid-gold.

Nose: Sweet-smelling, heavy on the toffee, with porridge-like cereal notes, ginger biscuits, baked apple, dried fruit and orange peel.

Palate: Lots of peppery alcohol but this is smooth considering the high ABV, creamy texture with salted caramel. Second sip and a drop of water brings out cloves, cardamom, citrus peel, fruitcake and some brazil nuts. 

Finish: Honey and lingering baking spices.

Overall: Deliciously complex. Needs a drop of water to be fully appreciated but this is a magnificent whisky. 

Now we’re going to taste through six mystery samples. Yeah, it’s all a bit of a mystery at Bruichladdich at the moment.

Bruichladdich Laddie Origins Feis Ile 2021

Delicious and mysterious

Sample no. 1:

ABV: 57.1%

Colour: Very pale gold

Nose: Vanilla, fresh, lemon peel, clean and fruity.

Palate: Lots of spice, creamy vanilla texture, toasted almonds.

Finish: Toasted nuts with more vanilla and black pepper. 

Sample no. 2:

ABV: 58.4%

Colour: Pale gold

Nose: Touch of cheese rind, vanilla, and waxy notes, with white peaches.

Palate: Peppery, creamy texture, that waxy note persists. There’s a nutty almond flavour here too.

Finish: Creamy, quite short. 

Sample no. 3

ABV: 59.8%

Colour: Gold

Nose: Very fruity, peaches, apples and orange peel, there’s a herbal note here too, plus vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon. 

Palate: Wow, super spicy! Hot chillies and then all the baking spices but particularly cardamom, some wood tannin here too and then fruity green apple and pears.

Finish: Creamy vanilla.

Bruichladdich Laddie Origins Feis Ile 2021 - glass

It’s a fine drop

Sample no. 4:

ABV: 60.9% 

Colour: Pale green gold

Nose: Toffee, vanilla, waxy notes, touch of burnt caramel, fresh peaches, lemon peel.

Palate: Custard tarts dusted with cinnamon, sweet and fruity, has a nice refreshing citrus fruit lift to it. Lovely mixture of sweetness and spice. 

Finish: Peppery and spicy. 

Sample no. 5:

ABV: 61.5%

Colour: Pale green gold

Nose: Burnt caramel, more custard, cinnamon and other baking spices, 

Palate: Lively, lots of fruity new make character backed up with a delicious creaminess, spices present but less prominent than in other samples. 

Finish: That dark toffee note returns on the finish.

Sample no. 6

ABV: 69.3%

Colour: Deep gold gold

Nose: Highly aromatic, spicy/ herbal quality, camphor perhaps, and then lots of toffee, coffee and chocolate.

Palate: Salted caramel and milk chocolate, hedonistic sweetness here, mingling with big spices, both hot and mellow. Citrus fruit here too keeping it all nice and fresh. 

Finish: Sweet mocha coffee with a shot of rum in it.

Well that’s the Laddie Origins and some, though not all of its component parts. All will be revealed at around 3pm today, Sunday 30 May. Go to Bruichladdich’s website for more information, or we’ll update when we can.