Bruichladdich release three "very old" whiskies - described as the "the last of their kind"

Head distiller Adam Hannett has released a series of three very old Bruichladdich whiskies which he describes as "the last of their kind”.

Published 8th Nov 2017
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The new expressions have been created using the final three parcels of casks from distillations in 1984, 1985 and 1986 and are set to go on sale across the globe.

The head distiller explained: “These rare, old single malts are a direct link to our past, to the men who made truly special spirit here while facing very different circumstances to those which we enjoy today. Testament to their skill and hard work it was laid down to mature by the shores of Loch Indaal, unaware of what the future might bring.

"Three generations of distillers have watched over it, each of us helping to shape the final concept. It has been my privilege to decide that the treasures we have nurtured are now ready to be brought to the world.

"These whiskies when tasted leave me speechless. They are in their prime, the last of their kind and can never be repeated, never recreated. Nothing quite like them will ever be seen again.”

The 1984 is drawn from just 12 casks of classic Bourbon-aged Bruichladdich, a style Hannett considers to be “the ultimate expression of Bruichladdich spirit".

He added: "The fruit, the faint salt tang, the signature elegance is all there with layer upon layer of vanilla/butterscotch complexity.”

The 1985 comes from the final 22 casks of legacy stock originally filled into gentle third fill bourbon casks that lay untouched until 2012 when it was re-casked into fresh Bourbon before a final finish in French oak.

Described as "ultra-rare", the 1986 is derived from just seven casks of delicate, floral Bruichladdich that have been subject to "intense, full-term sherry maturation".

First filled into oloroso butts in 1986, this spirit lay untouched in their loch-side warehouses until 2012 when their then master distiller Jim McEwan decided to introduce it to a privileged parcel of Pedro Ximinez butts from winemaker Jan Pettersen at Bodega Fernando de Castilla, Jerez.

Hannett stated that the whiskies were some the "most symbolic" he had worked with and that they were "profoundly important" to him.

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He said: "They are as old as I am, they reflect my life and experience, those moments that mean so much to us all.

"The moments that define us; when we marry, when we become parents and when we achieve our dreams and are recognised for our achievements.

"These are the moments that deserve to be celebrated with something extraordinary.”

In a poignant footnote to the bottlings leaving Islay, the distiller acknowledged that: “There is a tinge of sadness associated with seeing these great casks and the iconic whiskies they contain leaving our warehouses, even though memories of them will echo round these walls forever.”

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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