A distillery that wants to shift your attention from age statements to how whiskies are different, Bruichladdich unveils a punchy single cask whiskey dedicated to its Singaporean and Malaysian faithful.
In early 2021, Bruichladdich revealed a single cask release that was exclusively dedicated to its Singapore and Malaysia markets. This whiskey drop, if you will, made waves because Bruichladdich had never done this before in the Southeast Asian region. A delectable limited release, it was warmly received by the peninsula’s whiskey aficionados, which got the gears in Bruichladdich distillers’ heads turning. A 2022 drop was imminent.
This Islay brand was revived by a new owner, Rémy Cointreau, in 2012. Its fans might rave to you about its sweet and smooth Classic Laddie, or its ultra-peaty Port Charlotte and Octomore lines. In case said fans strike up a conversation with you about Bruichladdich, what do you need to know about the brand? Brook Laddie is Gaelic for “shore bank”—the Bruichladdich distillery sits on the coast of a sea-facing island, with nothing protecting it from the Atlantic Ocean and Arctic currents. These icy sea breezes endow Bruichladdich whiskies with a distinctive and refreshing saltiness.
Although most whiskey imbibers might only be able to name you Bruichladdich’s Classic Laddie, Port Charlotte and Octomore whiskies, Bruichladdich has, in fact, released more than 500 unique products since its reboot 10 years ago. The brand fortuitously reached this number by constantly experimenting. Bruichladdich does, after all, market itself as “Progressive Hebridean Distillers”.
This ethos can be traced back to the founding of the brand by the Harvey brothers. These forward-thinking brothers made it a point to incorporate what was then considered bleedingedge technology when they began building Bruichladdich distilleries in 1881.
Teleporting back to 2022, Bruichladdich has just lifted the veil off its Micro Provenance Single Cask 0315, which tastes very distinct because of the daring and off-kilter approach taken to create it.
Cut from a different cloth
Bruichladdich had always been brewing malt from Scottish Barley. When the brand rolled out an Islay Barley whiskey in 2013 made using its organic and namesake Islay Barley, that outing was met with resounding success. The Micro Provenance Single Cask 0315, however, not only shunts Scottish Barley and Islay Barley for regional Bere Barley, which nuances the whiskey with notes of green fruits, this new limited-edition whiskey also ages the whiskey a different way.
While Bruichladdich whiskies have always been aged in American Oak casks, the Micro Provenance Single Cask 0315 has been aged in Syrah wine casks from France’s Rhone Valley. Many whiskey connoisseurs, including Bruichladdich Distillery’s former CEO Mark Reynier, have compared the characteristics of Bruichladdich whiskey to those of high-quality wines.
“Let’s age it in a wine cask and see what comes out,” we can imagine an intoxicated Bruichladdich distiller remarking. Alas, much more discernment and due diligence were devoted to this sophisticated process. The Micro Provenance Single Cask 0315 is aged in the Syrah cask on the second fill, which means that after the Syrah (aka Shiraz) wine had been emigrated from the said cask, a previous whiskey would have been aged in that cask first, before the cask was filled with the Micro Provenance Single Cask 0315’s unaged spirit. Bottled in 2011 and aged till November 2021, high-calibre spirit that left the Syrah cask teases hints of unripe fruit and brandishes prominent notes of French wine. By the way, a little bird told us that this proud but progressive Scottish distillery has started dabbling with Japanese casks.
“We do things quite differently. We work very much on the ‘why’ we make whiskey,” divulges Bruichladdich Distillery’s Global Brand Ambassador, Chloe Wood. “For whiskey drinkers who aren’t that interested in the type of barley, provenance and terroir, there’s a lot of education to be done there. Does barley actually matter? That’s what we’re trying to prove. Our bottles that have a focus on terroir, are what we need to work on as a distillery to talk about. Nothing has gone to market that we thought is not a good idea to continue selling, so that’s always a positive. There are just whiskies that need us to work a little bit harder to explain the ‘why’.”
Punchy and possibly polarizing
Less talking, more drinking. Have a sip of the Micro Provenance Single Cask 0315, then let some air into your mouth and you will feel a cold evaporation sweep around your cheeks and upper jaw as you swallow. What was that, you might ask? At the same time, you might have noticed the legs of the 0315 clinging on the sides of your glass for an unusually long time.
Well, while the Classic Laddie has a brazen 50% ABV (alcohol by volume), the 0315 is an irreverent 65.2% ABV, smashing the 59.5% ABV of 2021’s Singapore-Malaysia single cask release.
In case we’ve set off any alarm bells, we’d like to assure you that the 0315 is an elegant and nuanced beverage. By now, the warm sensation and irreplicable after-taste of the 0315 would have subsided – we aren’t feeding you moonshine. However, the salted caramel flavor that the 0315 left on your lips still lingers, which is the M.O. of this Hebridean brand.
Will you like the Bruichladdich Micro Provenance Single Cask 0315? We haven’t met, but if you like adventurous things like drinking till late on a school night, the Teeling Single Grain Red Wine Cask Finish, the King’s Goblet wine cask-aged golden ale by Brekeriet, or letting your sommelier pick a wine for you, chances are, you and the 0315 will get along swimmingly. Nab a bottle quickly because there are only 282 of them in existence.
The limited Singapore edition of the Micro Provenance Single Cask 0315 bottle is now available on onecellar.com at a retail price of S$268. You can also taste the Micro Provenance Single Cask 0315 at Singaporean bars like The Cooperage, Malts, The Single Cask, Shanghai Vault, CU, The Writing Club and The Joint.