Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: 6 years 48% French Oak and 52% ex-Bourbon, 2 years ex-Sicilian Wine
Added coloring: No
Owner: Bruichladdich (Rèmy Cointreau)
Average price: € 90.00
Official website: www.bruichladdich.com
You may think we’re a bit obsessed, but we assure you that our mania… sorry, passion for peat has no role in these choices.
In fact, this Bruichladdich line has established itself as one of the most vital and interesting on Islay, so we are obliged to present their bottlings as soon as we can get a sample… so it’s not our fault!
This time we’re talking about a limited edition released in 2018 initially for duty free only and then extended to the whole market. As always with Bruichladdich, the presentation sheets are very detailed: 2009 harvest of 100% Invernesshire barley smoked at 40 ppm, aged six years in a mixture of second-pass French and American casks then aged two years in fortified Sicilian wine casks (which strangely isn’t made explicit, but should be Marsala), finally bottled at 56.3° with Islay spring water.
What does all this translate into?
To the eye it comes in a beautiful, completely natural ochre shade, which is very poetically called ‘Autumn pink’ by Bruichladdich. Personally, I find it one of the most beautiful natural colours I have seen recently.
On the nose, it first offers a good hint of peat malt, where smokiness and sweetness complement the obvious influence of marsala casks. Underneath the initial blanket there are obviously marsala notes of apricot and nutmeg, a good dose of vanilla (given its relative youth), aniseed, a little chocolate, but also a more pungent herbaceous hint of cloves. Only at the end does the alcohol become dominant with notes of wax that saturate the nostrils.
In the mouth, it’s intense, oily and warm. At the start you can definitely feel the alcohol on your tongue, with a strong taste of salty liquorice. The peaty nuances follow one another across the broad oceanic spectrum, but do not last long enough to identify them. There is a hint of pear and cinnamon, cloves return, there is a slight butteriness: marsala is perceived, but is finally overtaken by a strong peppery taste that saturates the taste buds and shortens the aromatic persistence.
It’s a decidedly strong and impactful dram, but leaves you a little unsatisfied with its short finish and extreme savouriness that begs for a closure that doesn’t come. Obviously it can’t fail to please peat lovers, but it disappoints a little when compared to Port Charlotte’s other bottlings in relation to price.