Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review: Bruichladdich Waves

Bruichladdich Waves
Price:  $45-$55
Strength:  46%

Bruichladdich resembles an independent bottler with the wide variety of one-shot bottlings they put out.  Most of their bottles are unpeated, but I think this is a mistake based on their Peat bottling and the fantastic Port Charlotte line.  Besides, how you can you justify distilling on Islay if not to peat the hell out of your whisky (I'm also looking at you Bunnahabhain)? 

Waves is part of the elementals trilogy of Bruichladdich that also includes Rocks and Peat.  Rocks is unpeated and was fairly boring to me when I sampled it, and (as reviewed) I like Peat a lot.  Waves intrigued me with its medium peat and interesting flavors.  The peat is very evident here, and "medium" is a good description of its strength and influence vis a vis the other flavors.  However, Waves is also salty and tangy.  The salt and peat give this whisky something of a seaside impression (the name helps you along here) and transforms the  bacon flavor of Bruichladdich Peat into salt pork.  But the real interesting flavor here is not the peat or the sea but the influence of the Madeira finish: tart cranberry, sweet and sour candy (Smarties), and orange Tang mix.  These are not flavors I would necessarily want in a whisky, but it works well enough here and because their inclusion is uncommon enough.  The only other whisky I can remember tasting similar notes is in Penderyn.

Bruichladdich Waves is brash and vibrant with interesting flavors, and it also has good texture.  On the other hand, it does taste pretty youthful and the finish is short.  The flavors are interesting but do not particularly complement each other or produce a "well balanced" feeling.  However, in a whisky world largely comprised of over-balanced blends and single malts of Glen-whatever, it's good to have a Bruichladdich Waves now and again.  83 points (B-).

Other Bruichladdich reviews:
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1 comment:

  1. I remember really liking Penderyn, which makes this sound pretty interesting.

    Madeira as I understand it, is a rather acquired taste, and I have to say, I haven't had many Madeira finished malts.