Bruichladdich Scottish Barley The Classic Laddie

85 Solid Sipper

This dram will not blow you away, but it is a good,  agreeable dram – one to relax and enjoy with friends.

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For our final of the four reviews in the Bruichladdich series we are tasting The Classic Laddie.  The distillery describes Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie Scottish Barley whisky as follows:

This single malt scotch whisky was originally crafted by distilling legend Jim McEwan to showcase our floral and elegant house style.  Unpeated, it has become our signature bottling.

Jim has now retired but the spirit for this definitive Bruichladdich is still made from 100% Scottish barley, trickle distilled, and then matured for its entire life, on Islay, by the shores of Loch Indaal.

Each vatting of this classic multi-vintage cuvee is now carefully assembled from a suite of individual casks by our Head Distiller Adam Hannett.

After describing the nose, palate, and finish – the publicity materials note the “mood” evoked by The Classic Laddie release:

Conviviality!  Relaxed, enjoying the spirit in the glass and the laughter from tales often told but never tired of hearing.

As noted previously the Bruichladdich Distillery produces three ranges of whiskies – the Bruichladdich (an unpeated range – which includes the ultra-premium Black Art releases), the Port Charlotte (heavily peated range), and the Octomore (super heavily peated range – the most heavily peated whisky in the world).  At the previous reviews first focused on the two Port Charlotte releases and now for the last two we have shifted our attention to the Bruichladdich line.

Now, back to the carefully assembled suite of individual casks.  I love the transparency effort started by Compass Box and supported by Bruichladdich (see this link for the Transparency. We Support Compass Box article on the Bruichladdich website).  Starting in April 2016, The Classic Laddie product page on the Bruichladdich website allows one to enter a code from the bottle that will take you to a page listing every component used to make the bottle of The Classic Laddie that you hold in your hands.  Now that is transparency and we need more if it in the whisk(e)y industry both overseas and in the US.  The bottle we are reviewing today has the code 16/065 – so before beginning the tasting notes let’s detail all that’s included in this bottling:

Bruichladdich Scottish Barley The Classic Laddie: Batch 16/065, Bottled 2016

(a vatting of 83 casks, 4 vintages, 2 barley types and 8 cask types)
# of CasksVintageBarleyCask Type
182008Scottish Mainland      Bourbon 1st Fill
82006   Scottish Mainland      Bourbon 1st Fill
52007   Scottish Mainland      France Bordeaux 1st Fill
42007   Scottish Mainland      Bourbon 1st Fill
42006   Scottish Mainland OrganicFrance Burgundy 1st Fill
92005   Scottish Mainland      Bourbon 1st Fill
92007   Scottish Mainland      Bourbon 1st Fill
12007   Scottish Mainland OrganicMadeira 2d Fill
32008   Scottish Mainland OrganicFrance Banyuls 2d Fill
112008   Scottish Mainland OrganicFrance Bandol 2d Fill
22008   Scottish Mainland OrganicMadeira 2nd Fill
32008   Scottish Mainland OrganicFrance Rhone 2d Fill
62008   Scottish Mainland     Bourbon 1st Fill
Bruichladdich Scottish Barley The Classic Laddie Stats
  • Mash Bill:  100% unpeated malted barley

  • Casks:  see notes above (mixture of 8 different cask types)
  • Age:  NAS (age of the casks range from 2005 to 2008)
  • ABV:  50.0% (100 proof); non-chill filtered and no coloring
  • Producer:  Bruichladdich Distillery
  • Price:  $55-65
  • Availability:  available


Notes for Jeremy and I are annotated below by the identifiers (JR) or (WJ).


light golden straw – consistent across all of the Port Charlotte and Bruichladdich whiskies we’ve reviewed


a slight floral note, green apple, pear, honey sweet maltiness, a tart lemon citrus (WJ); floral, pepper, grain/cereal, pear, maybe strawberries, crème (JR)


honey sweetness, burnt sugar, crème brûlée, touch of pepper at the end (WJ); nice fruitiness – strawberries again, honey, pear note in the middle (JR)


slight dryness, pleasant medium finish (WJ); a bit bitter – I’m wanting a bit more sweetness, as noted in the Islay Barley version (JR) 


BRUICHLADDICH THE CLASSIC LADDIE SCOTTISH BARLEY:  Thoughts from Wes – a very decent younger Islay non-peated whisky (slightly over half of the casks are 7-8 year range in age).  In head-to-head with the Islay Barley 2007 version I’d give the nod to The Classic Laddie – it has a bit more depth.  Overall a solid dram – does not knock my socks off, but does not turn me away either.  Final thoughts from Jeremy – a bit hot, but a good entry-level basic scotch.  It’s not going to wow you, but it’s totally drinkable.  Experienced sippers will be left wanting for sure. Score:  85 (combined); 85.5 (WJ) and 84.5 (JR)


As we wrap up the fourth installment of the Bruichladdich Distillery whisky reviews I thought I’d recap our overall rankings and how Jeremy and I viewed each one comparatively.  We had the same whisky ranked number one and all the others were in a tight range.

#1  87.0  Port Charlotte Islay Barley Heavily Peated          86.5 (WJ)  / 87.0 (JR)
#2  85.0  Bruichladdich Islay Barley Rockside Farm 2007 84.5 (WJ) / 86.0 (JR)
#3  85.0  Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Heavily Peated    85.0 (WJ) / 85.0 (JR)
#3  85.0  Bruichladdich Scottish Barley Classic Laddie     85.5 (WJ) / 84.5 (JR)


Thanks for reading and until next time the whisky quote of the day is from the great author and humorist Mark Twain: “I always take Scotch whisky at night as a preventive of toothache. I have never had the toothache, and what is more, I never intend to have it.”

Disclosure: The sampled bottle of Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie Scottish Barley Unpeated Islay Single Malt was graciously provided by Christina, representing Remy USA. appreciates their willingness to provide their product for review.  The contents of this review are our own, made without outside influence, or strings attached. 



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About Author

Senior Staff Writer, Wes, was born and raised in Darlington, South Carolina and attended college at the United States Air Force Academy. After flying helicopters for the Air Force and teaching at the Air Force Academy, he retired in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado, after twenty years of military service. He now works in public school education, is married with three children, and leads the monthly Proper Pour Whisk(e)y Club. You can follow him on Twitter @WesModernThirst and e-mail him at


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