This 7 year-old whisky offers a subtle nose, replete with light peat and the most delicate of shrinking violets. There’s also the smell o’ the sea, or maybe o’ an inland saltwater pond, present alongside hints of fresh-cut hay, dried out honeycomb, and a spoonful of what at first came across as uncut coke but turned out to be brown sugar. All of these notes are carefully and improbably restrained, like a Victorian woman corsetted sixteen ways to Sunday. On the mouth, the peat comes through, but it’s not run-of-the-mill peat: it’s beautifully fermented peat (If this sounds off-putting, it’s not: one must be open to the improbably lovely possibilities of fermentation. This seems to be something that whisky fans, kombucha brewers, and sourdough purveyors eventually come to understand.). But it seems that something has attenuated the power of the peat smoke here: imagine a jet taking off and sweeping away the fumes and spreading them very thin, leaving some acrid wisps and, improbably enough, cloved apples behind. It’s as if the Laddie team filtered out the nasty bits of Islay–were there such a thing!–with screens before bottling it. Most interesting, though, is how different the mouth is from the nose: imagine a reserved and slightly geeky engineer who turns out to be a super flyweight champion. The finish is slightly briny and citrusy and peaty and lovely and long but light. Its restraint or constraint, whichever the case may be, along with its flavors, are reminiscent of the nose and quickly takes leave of the much punchier mouth, not unlike Robin Givens from Mike Tyson back in the day.
The Bruichladdich Waves is Lyle Lovett’s “If I Had A Boat”—And if I had a boat, I’d go out on the ocean/ And if I had a pony, I’d ride him on my boat/ And we could all together go out on the ocean/ I said me upon my pony on my boat…