Bruichladdich 1988 / 30 years

Bruichladdich 1988 / 30 years Bourbon Cask: ‘the Untouchable’

This landmark 1988 vintage has never been re-casked. It has matured over 30 years in our warehouses in the same wood it was originally filled into – refill bourbon and, unusually, rare refill squat hogsheads. The subtle influence of these refill oak casks has resulted in a delicate and measured relationship between spirit and wood, quietly cultivated over time. It was always understood that this small parcel of casks required no interference, no guiding hand; just a watchful eye and palate to see it through. It is definitive, old, Bourbon-aged Bruichladdich – some of the last of its kind.

“THE 1988 IS A STUNNING EXAMPLE OF HOW WELL BRUICHLADDICH AGES. IT IS A DELICATE, FRUITY SPIRIT WITH A TREMENDOUS FLORAL EDGE, ALL UNDERPINNED BY A SUBTLE OAK PRESENCE” – ADAM HANNETT

1988 / 30 years

Tasting Notes


Colour – Polished copper.

Nose – Hugely floral, sun dried hay, coconut oil, buttercups and primrose. Vanilla fudge, porridge with golden syrup and a sweet citrus tang. Over time the coconut becomes stronger and dried apricot and sherbet come through more. A definitive American oak style, toasted oak and vanilla caramel hold the fruit from the spirit.

Taste – Like liquid velvet laced with coconut and citrus. Honeyed granola, toasted malt and mellow toasted oak take a hold of your palate. A classic Bruichladdich style, elegant and floral at first before allowing the oak to sweep in with pipe tobacco and fudge. A second sip brings some fruit, ripe pineapple, mango and hint of mint.

Finish – The finish shows a little more of the marine element of the maturation. A sea breeze with wood spice and fudge. The toasted oak goes the distance too and seems to bring along a little mango and aniseed to finish.

Character – One of the great vintages of Bruichladdich, the faith in the right wood and the right time to develop have allowed a superb spirit to show both its natural elegance and its strength of character.

1988 / 30 years


  • The very last casks from 1988
  • Unpeated Islay single malt Scotch whisky
  • Vintage 1988 / 30 Islay aged years
  • Matured in refill Bourbon barrels and squat hogsheads
  • Bottled unchill-filtered and colouring free on the island of Islay
  • Limited release of 6,000 bottles
  • Natural strength of 46.2% abv

BRUICHLADDICH WHISKY IS ALWAYS:


MATURED ENTIRELY ON ISLAY
BOTTLED ON SITE USING ISLAY SPRING WATER
NON CHILL FILTERED
COLOURING FREE

Rare Cask Series

Those of us who remember the 1980s recall a difficult decade for Scotch whisky. Numbers of great old distilleries closed down and many more had their traditional craftsmanship swept away by a tide of modernisation. The easiest way to drive profit was to change working practices, promote efficiencies instead of quality and close those ‘plants’ considered irredeemably old-fashioned.

Many succumbed, but happily, way out west on Islay, the world’s most famous whisky island, the robust Victorian engineering at Bruichladdich survived the initial onslaught of corporate greed. The traditional ways continued, partly because of the brilliance of the engineers who had designed and built the distillery back in 1881, and partly because the old place seemed to be forgotten by the men in suits. For a while anyway.

Great spirit, trickle distilled by hand the old way, continued to be laid down at Bruichladdich until 1994 when the stills ran for what seemed to be the last time and a lack of imagination and consideration for the future finally conspired to shut the gates. Just two men, Duncan “The Budgie” MacFadyen and the late John Rennie were retained – and their role was essentially to empty the loch-side warehouses of maturing spirit so that blending contracts could be fulfilled.

We came so close to losing the extraordinary heritage passed down to us by those men, but, miraculously, a very few examples of their work still survive. Here are the final exemplars from the vintages that reach back and touch their craft. A series of their great single malts proudly bottled here at the distillery by the next generation – a young team who have injected a new life and vitality into the old walls.

Previous Rare Cask Series releases

Bruichladdich Distillery
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