Bruichladdich 18 Year Old

March 4, 2024

There are a definitely options when it comes to 5 and 10 year old Islay whiskies but when one of the island’s distillers comes out with an 18 year old, that’s something worth checking into. I’m talking about the Bruichladdich 18 year old, produced by the folks at the Bruichladdich Distillery, in the village of Bruichladdich, located along the western coast of Islay, in Argyll and Bute Council, Scotland.

This whisky recently hit the open market on the same day as part of a pair of new Bruichladdich releases - this 18 year old and a 30 year old. Since the retail price of the 30 year old is 10 times that of the 18, my wallet told me which one to review.

They spent a lot on marketing and presentation here. Their new shaped bottle comes wrapped in new-style packaging, using 100 percent recycled paper. It won’t last as long as one of their tins but it is probably better for the planet. And it’s certainly unique. The bottle, itself, features a glass stopper on top. Known as a Vinolok, this type of decanter-style stopper takes the place of traditional cork. It’s cool, but hard to say if it’s worth the expense.

Another cool feature, but one that’s slightly hidden, is the transparency of learning what the recipe is of your bottle of whisky. You just enter in the recipe code from your bottle onto Bruichladdich’s website and they give you the breakdown of the casks, distillation, and barley that went into making that bottle. All good stuff, right? The problem? That recipe code is printed on the bottle glass using light-colored, almost whisky-colored ink. I’d like a word with their marketing team.

The contents of my bottle was matured for all of its 18 years on Islay and found itself living primarily in American ex-bourbon barrels as well as French Sauternes hogsheads, French Port hogsheads, and Spanish Ribero del Duero hogsheads. And the ABV on this one clocks in at a robust 50 percent. And, as is usually what I would expect to find with Bruichladdich, it’s been bottled un-chill filtered and with no added color.

Just keep doing what you’re doing there, Bruichladdich.

As far as the shading of this natural whisky, it has a medium gold color to it, when held up to the light, kind of like liquid corn. And the viscosity is quite evident, with some very slow legs making the journey down the sides of the glass.


The 18 years this distillate has spent in different casks has done some fun things to it. At first I pick up notes of a lovely malty sweetness, the kind of note that suggests this is a good glass of whisky you’ve got your nose stuck into. I also get some apple cider on the nose. There is some root beer fragrance there. And corn flakes. I like getting corn flakes from my whisky! Now, I know I’m not supposed to get it because this whisky is non-peated, but I can smell a whiff of smoke there. And those hard fruit candies my grandmother always had in little dishes around her house.


There’s a big sweet taste, like an intense, cherry liqueur. I also get a smoked honeycomb. There’s some cinnamon spice. And a touch of black pepper. I also get some honey wine, like a nice glass of mead. The tongue detects some cherry cola. And a honey-vanilla bourbon glaze

As much as I appreciate the taste of this one straight out of the bottle, I am intrigued to see what water does to this 50 percent whisky.

Nose + Water:

The water gives me more vanilla than before. I also detect some butterscotch, and ginger ale.

Palate + Water:

On the palate the water gives me the taste of some very light black licorice. And while it’s kind of hard to pin down, if they make thick, chewy molasses bubblegum, then that’s what I’m tasting. Finally, I get a touch of sea salt.


The finish is nice and long. There’s a sweet spice, cherry cough drops, a slight salty brine, and vanilla caramel candies.


OK, right up front, it’s on the expensive side, so it’ll possibly have a few people applying the brakes. But there are some serious flavors to explore here. It’s kind of like liquid candy but in an almost chewy kind of way, in terms of the deep, syrupy mouthfeel you get. The nose is inviting, the palate’s even better. I’m giving the Bruichladdich Eighteen a nine finger pour

Age Statement: 18 years

ABV: 50%

Chill Filtered: no

E150a caramel coloring added: no

Average Price (750ml): $190 (US)