Bruichladdich’s The Three Tens

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Back in 2011 when The Laddie Ten came out it set the standard for future Bruichladdich whiskies. It was composed of whisky distilled in 2001 under Jim McEwan’s watch. It quickly gained a stellar reputation. Fast forward to 2014, the famous Ten became somewhat a victim of it’s own success. It became a distillery exclusive and was gradually replaced by the Classic Laddie. Guess what? Bruichladdich’s The Three Tens are back!

2016 was the year in which Bruichladdich climbed the barriers (with Compass Box and Tomatin) for a more transparent industry. They found a workaround to give the recipe of the Classic Laddie to their customers and announced the return of a ten year old expression of Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte and Octomore single malts : Bruichladdich’s The Three Tens

Bruichladdich 10 second edition

  • 10 year old single malt

  • Distilled 26 July - Bottled 27 October 2016 - Rotation 16/247

  • Matured in bourbon, sherry and French wine casks

  • Alcohol: 50% ABV
Colour: Gold-russet whisky, leaving thin legs on the glass.

Nose: Marzipan and nuts. The wine casks have a prominent role to play. Red fruits. Raspberry sherbet and currants jam. Caramel chocolate. Dried dates. English wine gums. Sweet and fruity. Lemon ice cream. Christmas beer malt, candy apple and honey.
With water: It does not seem to make any difference. Slightly more creamier perhaps?

Taste: Liquid candy. Red fruit with a slightly sour edge and added spiciness for balance. cardamom pods and bitter lemon peel. Creamy mouthfeel. Wine gums and pepper. Banana and mint-cinnamon tea.
With water: The mouthfeel gets even creamier. Sweet pears and vanilla. Classic honey and lemon flavours.

Finish: Long and creamy. Sweet and spicy flavours are coating the tongue. Banana and wine gums. Mint, eucalyptus and cinnamon.

Port Charlotte 10 second edition

  • 10 year old single malt

  • Distilled 30 August 2006 - Bottled 27 October 2016 - 16/247

  • Matured in bourbon, sherry, Tempranillo and French wine casks

  • Phenols: 40 ppm

  • Alcohol: 50% ABV
Colour: It could be the twin brother of the Laddie. Gold russet in colour.

Nose: Smoky oak. Sweet grapes and smoked halibut. The same nuttiness from its unpeated counterpart. A spicy tuch of cumin and those indian dried fruits offered with the coffee (Mukhwas). Chicken with honey and raisins. In the background dwindles a slighty metallic aroma. Apricots and peaches.
With water: Candy apple. The smoke became subdued.

Taste: Chocolate. Smoked chocolate mousse. Heather honey. Creamy and slightly spicy in the mouth. Chili-chocolate tea. Baked pineapple and sweet apple. A tasty little smoke bomb packed with red fruits.
With water: Cinnamon-apple pastries and sweet gingerbread with honey.

Finish: A powerful and spicy mulled wine with added brandy. Spicy smoke. Clove and apple.

Octomore 10 second edition

  • 10 year old single malt

  • Distilled 21 December 2005 - Bottled 31 October 2016 - Rotation 16/248

  • Matured in bourbon and grenache blanc casks

  • Phenols: 167 ppm

  • Alcohol: 57.3% ABV
Colour: Gold or dried hay in the glass. The liquid forms oily beads.

Nose: Fresh citrus and grapes. Mint on the BBQ. Mineraly and salty. Rock sugar and cheese (Chaumes or Camembert). Ginger biscuits. White chocolate. A quite fatty nose. Lemonade. The smoke is nicely integrated. Distinctively smoky yet it leaves enough breathing space for other aromas. Sweet aqua vitae or M&M's infused vodka.White chocolate panna cotta with lemon.
With water: Minerals and salt. White chocolate, fudge and salty caramel.

Taste: Sweet grapes. Chocolate and a sweet dessert wine with a smoky touch. A whiff of menthol and peppermint. The evolution and complexity are pretty subtle. Sweet apples and banana. Hot dry ash, smoky noga and sweet peat.
With water: Grilled apple, sherbet and cinnamon.

Finish: A long sweet Cointreau-like finish. Orange liquor.

The future of Bruichladdich looks bright. Adam Hannett is no longer Jim McEwan’s padawan. He skillfully integrated the wine casks in Bruichladdich’s The Three Tens recipes and although they are pretty different, they have been infused with the Laddie DNA. All three of them are head and shoulders above most of other 10 year old single malts. I’m guessing the difference is partly explained in the fact that Bruichladdich doesn’t treat them as entry-level malts.

The Octomore found its own peculiar sense of balance and is definitely the choice of the heart alas the wallet says no. But the 10yo Port Charlotte is the choice of the mind. It's the perfect love child of the Laddie Ten and the Octomore. That one goes in the basket.

And the Laddie Ten you might ask? Well, it's a stunning dram in its own right. But I have a knack for Port Charlotte...

Sample disclosure: The samples of Bruichladdich’s The Three Tens were sent to me by Oona and Bruichladdich as a part of a Twitter tasting in March . Opinions expressed in this review are of course my own.