Not everyone can be lucky enough to hop on a plane, fly to Scotland and taste whisky in the company of the distillers, blenders and craftsmen who make the magic happen. Instead, most of us have to learn about the intricacies of a given malt via our own noses and tastebuds, or through the journalists, bloggers, YouTubers and fans that comprise the global whisky community. Don’t get me wrong – the whisky community is absolutely awesome, and has never been stronger… But there’s nothing quite like having a jam session the artists themselves.
To help bring enthusiasts and creators together, Bruichladdich does something very interesting: an annual live-streamed “digital tasting” by their Head Distiller Adam Hannet, describing, tasting and comparing a few hand-selected “micro-provenance” Bruichladdich single malts.
This year marked the arrival of the 4th of these tastings, or “LaddieMP4”. Having leapt on an out-of-the-blue (but extremely welcome!) invitation by Raphaël from Remy Cointreau, I got the opportunity to give this year’s Micro Provenance malts a try on behalf of the Cape Whisky Club. Joining me at The Stack in Cape Town were the indomitable Leah Van Deventer (Food24), the larger-than-life Bernard Gutman (Waterfront Whisky), the impeccable Patrick Leclezio (Words on Whisky) and the exemplary Adrian Kritzinger (Whisky & Ginger).
Each of the LaddieMP4s are single cask, bottled at close-to-cask strength (a very small amount of water was added pre-bottling) and presented in insanely cute little 200ml Laddie-style bottles. As you might expect of Bruichladdich, no chill-filtration or colourant was added.
First up, Cask #361 (58%) – pulled from, and exclusively matured in an ex-Syrah (Shiraz) cask for 8 years. A novelty for me and certainly the surprise of the evening – we spent ages nosing this one.
This was followed by Cask #16-062 (58%), an ex-bourbon, sherry finished malt distilled in 2006, making it a full 10 years old. This was generally considered to be the most traditionally enjoyable of the bunch, sweet and familiar.
Lastly, my favourite of the evening, the 11-year-old Cask #1062 (59%), an entirely ex-bourbon matured little beauty of a dram, full of vanilla, tropical fruit and citrus.
Major thanks to Raphaël Cristini and Phil Voget for their kind invitation. Raph is a legend – he not only brought us all together, but also brought a few LaddieMP4s into Cape Town all the way from Islay! And Phil? What a champ. An absolutely brilliant host – generous, knowledgable and a true whisky lover. A terrific evening!