November 12, 2013

Review: Bruichladdich Cuvee 407 PX - Hello, Lover...

Sometimes it's hard not to be a bit of a skeptical whisky drinker.  There is a lot out there, and some stuff is better than others. Unfortunately, this habit of ours can get pricey, and nothing is worse than an expensive and disappointing dram.  So admittedly, SB was a little skeptical when trying the Bruichladdich Cuvee 407: PX.  Yes, it's pretty expensive, closing in somewhere around the $200 mark. But call us easy: the color alone had us at hello.   And the description on the bottle refers to "a whisky for when the air is redolent of old leather, cuban tobacco and cedar wood." Talk to me, baby...

Yes, please.

The thing is, I have not been a major 'Laddie' lover in the past.  Don't get me wrong - the Octomore and the Port Charlotte are both solid, but unfortunately for them, Lagavulin has already won my heart many times over in the heavily peated category, to which I will compare all peaty whisky forever.  But this Bruichladdich is  different.  For one, it's not peaty.  This is the standard Bruichladdich 21, which is aged in American oak, but then finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks.  This is a special thing; while you can find lots of whisky that is aged in sherry, the PX sherry is a super added bonus.  I also can't hep but say that I really like the packaging.  I know, I know.  A package does not make the whisky.  But this one is really sleek and modern and clean looking.  So sue me - I'm a bit of a sucker for a nice design. But back to the drink...

As I mentioned before, the color alone is a winner.  Deep and rich and caramel.  By looking at it, you already have high hopes for what you're about to taste.  The first sniff doesn't hurt either.  When you open the bottle, at first it smells like you are opening a bottle of sherry or port.  Once it hits the glass, it opens up a bit more, and you start to get the richness of chocolate, raisins and cherries, and more sweetness and all of the great things you would get in a delicious PX sherry, but a little spicier.  

This is not a smoky beast.  But this is one of the smoothest, most rich and flavorful scotches I've had in a while.  Just for a split second, if you told me I was drinking a very well-aged bordeaux I would have believed you. The sherry is unmistakeable, with the richness and chocolate coming through in the taste.  But there's more - a real spiciness with a bit of caramel and toffee, and more sweetness with almost a fruity note as well.  It finishes with a short yet powerful finish of brown sugar, more fruit and spice, as well as a refined mocha.

In the end, I'm sorry for having doubted you, Bruichladdich Cuvee 407: PX.  You kind of rocked our world.  Could the Cuvee 640: Eroica and Cuvee 382: La Berenice be as good?  Based on the deliciousness of the 407, we are dying to find out!


  1. Awesome review, Steve. Experience has taught me that these mature big sherried Laddies take a long time to open up. As good as it is now, I wager it gets better and better for weeks. I'll be curious and hopeful to see if this is true in this case.

    1. Thanks Josh, I agree it's a great review but this was mainly wifey's work with myself suffering through only having to drink the stuff and add a few tasting notes without doing any work. I did cook dinner so that's something! Yes I agree, for anything over 20 years there's a big chemical change when it's been open a couple of weeks. No rush on this one, we'll be sipping it for a while, might even come back with some addt'l notes if deemed necessary.

    2. I have a bottle of this that I recently finished. The last few drams in the bottle had been hanging around for about 6 months. To my taste buds, the whisky was far more rounded, deep and flavorsome, than when I first opened it. The extra time in the bottle has elevated it from a good dram to a great dram, well worth the money!

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  3. Why do you assume that Steve wrote this one?? ;)

  4. To answer a few side questions: the term "Cuvee" is from the French word for "vat". It's used interchangeably in the wine world and can mean a particular varietal, a blend, or just a label for high quality champagne. In whisky-speak, cuvee almost always refers to the process of taking multiple barrels, combining various ratios of them together for taste, and then re-barreling the new hooch together in a different type of barrel. In this case, 'Laddie has combined various 20+ year oak barrels and then further aged the result in the PX barrel. See our other more in-depth post on barrel-aging with Chip Tate for more detail.