Rock’ndaal – A Masterclass to Remember


Three 18 year old whiskies. A 30 year old Bruichladdich. Our Rye at four years old. And a unique multi-vintage, multi-spirit assemblage. Head Distiller Adam Hannett’s Rock’ndaal Masterclass was a tour-de-force that explored both the depths of our warehouses and the frontiers of experimentation at Bruichladdich.

Both CEO Douglas Taylor in his introduction and Head Distiller Adam talked on stage about how special it was to be back together tasting whiskies for the first time since 2019. The excitement witnessed in the room and the avid audience interacting online suggested that everyone felt it a privilege and a joy to be able to do this again.

Rock’ndaal Masterclass Drams

Adam certainly did not hold back in his six dram selection for the day. The line-up is always a surprise, known only to him and the trusted warehouse team who pull out the casks. When the Masterclass began, on Sunday 29th May at 11am, we learned that the drams he was to present were:

  • A cuvée created from the two Bruichladdich Distillery festival bottles, Rock’ndaal 01.1 (made from Islay Barley and predominantly Bourbon cask maturation) and Rock’ndaal 01.2 (wine/sherry cask maturation). Each blends of different components of Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte and Octomore. Youngest spirit 13 years, 50% ABV
  • Bruichladdich 18 year old 50%ABV, predominantly Bourbon cask maturation, but with “a sprinkling” of Port pipes and ex-Sauternes.
  • Bruichladdich 30 year old 49.2% ABV, partially recasked into Rum in 2007.
  • Port Charlotte 18 year old 57.3% ABV. Predominantly sherry cask maturation – Oloroso, PX, Fino and Amontillado, plus a little virgin oak. For Adam, an exercise in the art of blending.
  • Octomore 18 year old (the oldest Octomore that’s ever been public; of which we have “only very very small amounts left”) 55.2% ABV.
  • Bruichladdich Rye whisky – 4 years 5 months old first fill Bourbon and toasted virgin American oak

Adam’s stories that accompanied the tastings were both personal and resonant. He spoke about whisky’s ability to traverse time, its poignancy, honouring the work and care of previous generations, and the pride he feels in making whisky for the people to enjoy in the future.

“We do a lot of firsts at Bruichladdich, but look, I’m not the first guy to make whisky on Islay. He taught me, and he’s been taught, and there’s been whisky made on this island for hundreds and hundreds of years… It’s what we do. We make whisky. And it’s been incredible to have this band of people come and take an interest in what we do.”

You can watch, or rewatch, the multi-camera broadcast from the day here:

If that wasn’t enough for you, get closer to Adam and hear his answers to questions from our digital audience at the Masterclass Afterparty.

To watch back the playlist including the action from the highly anticipated Malts Bar with Simon Coughlin and Lynne McEwan and Distillery News visit here.

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