Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvée E: Sauternes (Chateau D’Yquem) 16 Year Old

Take 16 year old Bruichladdich single malt whisky and finish it off in casks which come from some of the finest vineyards in the world – that’s the concept behind the Bruichladdich First Growth series. One of the sexiest whiskies I’ve ever tasted is in this range – the casks having come from Chateau Margaux – but this time they come from Chateau D’Yquem, Sauternes – in the Bordeaux vineyards. It’s widely regarded as one of the best wine-growing regions in the world. But what could be better than pouring out that eye-wateringly expensive wine so the barrels can be used instead to store the finer liquid, single malt whisky?

Onto the Chateau D’Yquem finish Bruichladdich, then. Colour: somewhere between heather honey and gold. On the nose: orange marmalade, whiff of barley, coastal tang, buttery creaminess. Remains nice and mellow without heading too far with the fruit aromas. There’s a small hint of wine there, too.

In the mouth: oh good lord this is lovely. A warming, silky, malted, sweet and delicious flavour, with the kind of mouth-feel that simply outclasses so many other whiskies. Lighter fruits are revealed – apples, something a little exotic perhaps. On the finish, a hint of peppery peat and a chewy lingering sweetness. Very subtle. Again, another sexy Bruichladdich here.

I’m not sure if it’s as good as probably my favourite whisky in the range, the Bruichladdich Chateau Margaux, but it’s certainly up there. It’s safe to say that this First Growth series from Bruichladdich is a wonderful find indeed. If you ever see a bottle for sale – buy it immediately as a gift for yourself.


I've written about (and reviewed) whisky for Whisky Magazine, among other publications, and have been a whisky judge for competitions including the World Whiskies Awards. I've done other writing too: several mass market genre novels, a few short stories, including for BBC Radio 4. For my day job (I know, I don't get out much) I work in digital content. Follow me on Instagram.com/maltreview/ or Twitter.com/MaltReview. Generally, my tastes lean towards ex-sherry cask and ex-wine cask influences on the spirit, but I'm not so fussed as long as the whisky's gone into good wood.

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