Some years ago, Bruichladdich put out a number of young (~7 years old) single malts that were designed to provide an introduction to the brand at a more reasonable cost. It was all distillate produced after the buyout by Mark Reynier, in contrast to the stocks that came with the distillery. I picked these up as a set of miniatures from The Whisky Exchange, but it appears that they are sold out now.
As with most Bruichladdich releases, all were bottled at 46% without chill filtration or coloring.
Nose: Laddie malt core, milk chocolate, overpowering sour red wine, sweaty sock funk, bad sherry casks, new make/vegetal peat edge, jammy raspberries - everything gets worse with time. After adding a few drops of water, there is more malt, some maritime notes and cinnamon peek out, it becomes creamier, but overall everything else is worse - grain notes become musty.
Taste: begins decently but blandly - some malt and barrel sweetness up front with a touch of cinnamon, there are notes of sour milk that start in the middle and hang around far too long, then it segues into off-notes of red wine and sherry. After dilution, much sweeter overall, the oak notes become musty, more sherry comes out but there's a horrible sourness to it all that ruins the palate, the taste won't go away - kill me now.
Finish: grows worse and worse with time - sour/bitter oak and wine dregs, plastic, nasty peat reek
Rarely do I try a whisky that tastes like it actively wishes me harm. This is absolutely everything wrong with new style Bruichladdich releases - bad red wine casks, terrible peat reek, and a complete lack of coherence. I know tastes vary, but this genuinely makes me question what's wrong with Jim McEwan. This was designed to be Bruichladdich's introduction to the brand - the first taste that many people would get of their whisky. Why they would go this route instead of playing it safe, I do not know. But I am becoming more and more convinced that I want to avoid anything from Bruichladdich that was distilled after 2001. It just doesn't work for me. Good riddance to this whisky.
Nose: fresh, salty, gentle peat, something meaty, rubbery undercurrent, malty core, Playdough, some Laddie funk. After adding a few drops of water, it remains more or less unchanged.
Taste: malty sweetness and polished oak throughout, mild peat/seaweed and oak near the back, a bit of funk and salt. After dilution, it becomes flatter and more integrated but actually more pleasant, the bitterness become coffee-like, there is more oak, and there's an overall sense that the whisky is more mature.
Finish: mild peat/funk residue, salty malt, lightly bitter oak
While simple, this is at least not bad. I would consent to drink this whisky again, which was refreshing after the terribleness of Rocks. There is just enough peat to provide some spice to the underlying malt and the lack of wine casks kept it uncomplicated. While I think this could actually benefit from a few sherry casks, I'm not sure I quite trust the hands at Bruichladdich to pick them well.
However, Waves was discontinued some time ago, so it's a bit of a moot point.
Nose: vague peat reek, new make, malty, almost no oak, Playdough, vegetal, more clearly peated with time but still surprisingly gentle. After adding a few drops of water, some salted caramel notes come out, there is more obvious oak influence, and the peat integrates with the malt.
Taste: intensely sweet up front (almost seems artificial), surprising lack of peat, very little oak, bourbon barrel fruitiness in the middle. After dilution, everything amps up - the start of the sip is pure sucrose, the peat is finally assertive, there is more bourbon barrel influence, but nothing really makes it great.
Finish: mild peat, lingering sweetness, alcohol edge
Despite what it says on the label, there wasn't a lot of peat influence. This is rather surprising, as Peat was supposedly a 50/50 mix of young Port Charlotte (50 PPM) and Ocotomore (100+ PPM). It may be that this is due to sampling this from a miniature (which are often flawed), but it may be that's just how this one worked. Either way, it didn't do much for me. Which is kind of irrelevant, as this one is also long gone.
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