Two Bruichladdich distillery-only “Valinch” bottlings. One is sublime, the other is like drinking a dead muskrat.


And so it goes with single casks; and so it goes with whisky in general… While many whiskies can be average to really good (in the “non-point-based” scale system or, the “how-was-the-overall-experience?” system) some can also be great, amazing, etc… and every now and again, life changing.

There are also, from time to time, some amazingly bad whiskies out there.

Today I am reviewing two Bruichladdichs and these whiskies are so polar opposite, I thought it’d be great for them to share blog-post space.

Before moving forward, I must say that I have a particular devotion to Bruichladdich.  I am so in love with their spirit and their evolving story is something of great interest to me.  Also, The Laddie Ten is currently my #1 go-to whisky these days.  I consider it to be, perhaps, the best 10yo whisky on the market.  Period.

So, let’s start off with the really-really BAD Bruichladdich.  It’s called “Coming of Age” and it is one that I got in August of 2011.

Bruichladdich-Coming-of-ageBruichladdich Coming of Age “valinch” bottling.  58.7% ABV – Palo Cortado cask, 9yo

On the nose –  A drying, yet previously soaked, coffee filter filled with last week’s, and now moldy, Luizianne coffee.

Bruichladdich-1The musk of a feral ferret that has both the mange and rabies.  Also like smelling chocolate covered death.  Horrific from the get-go and magnificently so.

Seriously, I never nosed a such a bad smelling whisky, ever.   Yet like being unable to look away from a train wreck, I can’t stop nosing it.  “It can’t be *that* bad, can it?!” asks me. “Yes, yes it can” I reply.

Bruichladdich-2On the mouth –  This is like licking a blood soaked rusty prison shiv.  I feel like my blood might mix in.  It’s sort of scary.

Flat root beer meets flat cola meets gauze pads loaded with browned and dried iodine and blood.

Hey, great mouthfeel!

Bruichladdich-3My mouth is coated with flavors of a five pound bag of dead mice.  Chicory galore and more coffee (albeit OLD coffee).

Finish – Why won’t it stop.  It’s endless and surely taking years off of my life.

In sum – The best balanced worst whisky I’ve ever had.  Plain and simple.  Much like that dead rodent in the walls of your office, this is a conversation piece.  I highly recommend you get a bottle if you can find one!

Port-charlotte-predictionPort Charlotte Prediction “valinch” bottling.  63.5% ABV – 9yo (wine finished? Not enough info on the bottle.)

Bruichladdich-4On the nose –  Milk chocolate and warm milk drenched digestive cookies.  This was quickly followed everything very vegetal including celery with celery salt and freshly snapped dandelion stems.

Light white wine-like notes mixed with malt and LOTS of it.  This is more like a heavily peated Bruichladdich than a lightly peated Port Charlotte (if you catch my meaning).

The  final sniff test offers up some lime popsicles.  Yum!

Bruichladdich-5On the mouth –  Much peatier than the nose offered me.  White grapes and a shaker of pepper.  Other than this, very similar to the nose.  Overly enjoyable.

Elegance without being delicate.  Like drinking a female body builder (that still looks like a lady).

Great mouthfeel.  Very much one of the things I look for in a whisky.

Finish – Long and peppery and sweet and like a super treat

In sum – When it comes to the peaty treats, this is what I look for in a whisky.  It’s got everything.

I pour this only on special occasion and today’s special occasion was comparing it to the abortion that was the “Coming of Age” Valinch.’s review of the “Coming of Age” death-whisky is much more flattering than mine…