Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Whisky Review: Bruichladdich Links St. Andrews

Close on the heels of my review of Bruichladdich 12 Year 2nd Edition, I found minis of their Links St. Andrews whisky while on vacation in Washington. Intrigued, I grabbed one and decided to do a tasting.

The Links series is a set of 14 year old whiskies that were all aged in different types of casks. The St. Andrews version spent time in Spanish oak casks, which means sherry.

Bruichladdich Links St. Andrews

Nose: a hint of sour wine (maybe balsamic vinegar?), underlying creamy malt, milk chocolate, raisins, a whiff of brown sugar. After adding water there is more wood and sharper raisin notes, with a strong floral element emerging.

Taste: light creamy sweetness up front with a sour tinge, a burst of cacao, some muddled fruit, bitter oak, sour sherry rides over everything. After dilution, there is more sugary sweetness up front that integrates with the sherry, more bitterness at the back, and more sour wine.

Finish: sour sherry and bitter oak, creamy malt, cacao, a little pepper

When I first cracked this whisky open, there were sour wine and off notes - almost like spoiled milk - bouncing through everything. All in all, it was a distinctly unpleasant experience. With time and air, that aspect seemed to be in retreat, letting the more pleasant parts of the whisky shine. The second pour was much better, with only the residue of the sourness that had previously overwhelmed. It's still a long way from being my favorite whisky ever, but I can see how it might eventually blossom into a much better single malt with some more time and air. However, I have a feeling that it would remain a little bit disappointing, as the nose was significantly better than the palate, especially after adding water. So an interesting effort from Bruichladdich that reminds me a lot of the aforementioned 12 year old, but I feel like they might not have been pulling their best casks out for this one. Which is a shame, because it seems like there might have been a good whisky inside, but the elements never quite came together in the right way to really tickle my fancy.


  1. We think alike. I just bought one of these about a month ago in a 3 pack which also included 3D3 (the ancestor of Peat) and the much maligned first edition of Rocks. These almost dusties are being blown out for $14 for the 3 pack at Shopper's Vineyard in Clifton, NJ. I haven't cracked mine. It's going to be a special evening that takes me back to the early days of Bruichladdich's resurrection. It's starting to look like the "good ole days" now. That being said, McEwan & Co. clearly upped their game as they went along and the early wine finished stuff was squarely in the "lipstick on a pig" territory. I don't mind. It was good independent Hebridean lipstick on that old closed pruny 1990s Bruichladdich juice that is old love/hate territory for me. It was the first Islay that made me feel superior and I love it for that.

    1. Good to know it's not just me. I got a set of Rocks/Waves/Peat minis in my TWE haul, so it'll be interesting to see how those things have evolved.