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Bruichladdich The Sixteen

Two weeks ago I received an e-mail from Mark Reynier about the new whisky release from Bruichladdich and quite recently I received a sample of the new whisky, which I am reviewing today.

Bruichladdich 16 Year Old Bourbon Cask matured Single Malt is distilled and aged by Bruichladdich, a privately owned Islay based distillery by the shore of Loch Indaal, which was built in 1881 by Barnett Harvey, using funds received from his nephew, William Harvey IV.

The distillery was built from scratch, instead of the usual farm conversion, and was made out of concrete, which at the time was a revolutionary new building material. The annual output in 1881 was 423,000 litres of whisky a year compared to the 1,500,000 litres of whisky a year today.

In 1994 the distillery was temporarily closed and it was maintained by only 2 men but it soon resumed operation when Murray McDavid purchased and completely remodelled the distillery in the year 2000.

Jim McEwan, the master distiller, has worked together with his friends Simon Coughlin, Mark Reynier and Gordon Wright to restore the old glory of the distillery, where old equipment and the head and heart are still used rather than computers and modern equipment. The Bruichladdich distillery also has its own bottling line which was installed in 2003 making it the third distillery to have one on site.

The Bourbon 16, as the whisky is called is a 16 year old un-chill filtered Single Malt Scotch Whisky matured in white oak (Quercus Alba) bourbon casks and is estimated to last approximately for 2 years because of its limited availability.

Bourbon 16 is launched to mark the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition and will also replace the 15 year old bottling from Bruichladdich.


The appearance of the single malt is very crisp combined with the bright colour and clarity. Long smoothly running legs form in the glass when given a swirl. 


The first aroma is a bit dry and closed up with a subtle note of marzipan that appears when carefully nosing the glass from a distance. Letting the whisky breathe for a while allows it to open up and to release notes of leather, malted barley, mellow bourbon aromas and slight fruitiness with just a tiny bit of caramel.

Rubbing some whisky between my hands brings out the aromas of the barrel it was matured in.


A somewhat smoky and dusty entrance leads to malty flavours and roasted nuts followed by a slightly sharp tingling, though it is very smooth considering the whisky is 46% ABV.


Immediately after swallowing there is a strong presence of malt, warm and smooth flavours with some creaminess and gentle smokiness left lingering in the palate, allowing for a quite a pleasant and long finish.

Final thoughts

Bruichladdich 16 is an easy-drinking single malt and consistent to the end but it doesn't quite captivate me the way I'd hope. Regardless of my hopes it is a good quality single malt I might recommend as an aperitif. 

  • Details at a Glance

 Single Malt Whisky

Details at a Glance

Country: Scotland (Islay)
Aged: 16 Years
Barrel(s): Jim Beam and Buffalo Trace Bourbon casks
Style: Single Malt
Annual Capacity: 1,500,000 litres
ABV: 46%
Hydrometer Reading: 0 g/L

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