Bottled for the ‘Friends of Bruichladdich. Bourbon cask matured, distilled on 18/12/2001, bottled on 31/01/2023, natural colour and non-chill filtered.
Appearance: Bright shiny gold. A chain of beads forms around the top of a viscous film, which itself slowly morphs into a greasy corrugated layer around the inside of the glass.
Nose: The ABV is evident and welcoming, letting me know it’s a serious dram. Sweet and salty smoke, like someone has set some seaweed on fire and it’s now dying into embers. There’s also a lovely sharp berry element, balancing against the smoke and salinity.
After a time, and once acclimated to the smoke, black pepper, cinnamon and a subtle lemon pepper appear.
A little water reveals a softer side with honey, Belgian waffles and vanilla
Palate: A beautifully oily mouthfeel, accompanied by a gentle spice heat moving down the throat and onto the chest, warming nicely.
The smoke is consistent, along with the salinity and more of a medicinal note. Liquorice also appears now, with some blood-orange bitterness.
After a few sips, a sweeter side does appear in the form of blackberries and honey, but never breaks free of the salty smoke dominance.
The black pepper and aniseed spice grow quickly, into a chilli heat tingle.
With a drop or two of water, those sweeter honey and vanilla notes come through, along with eucalyptus (almost tequila-like) and a vegetal note like cut grass.
Finish: Medium to long. A little drying. The chilli, black pepper, blood-orange and smoke linger longest. A metallic element also lingers along with the other notes.
Overall: This whisky had an air of something special about it: lovely mouthfeel, great balance and a bold flavour profile.
With just a drop or two of water, this dram morphs into a much sweeter and more mellow monster.
I’d love to get hold of a bottle of this to see how it develops over time. It’s rocking horse shit though and I only got a sample thanks to Derek at The Artisan Restaurant.