Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing cask: Ex-Madeira Wine
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Valinch & Mallet Ltd.
Average price: € 165.00
Official website: www.valinchandmallet.com
Another whisky from the independent bottler Valinch & Mallet, alias Fabio Ermoli and Davide Romano. This is a Bruichladdich distilled in 2003 and aged 15 years in an ex-Madeira cask, the 18-1501, from which 341 bottles were made.
Madeira is a liqueur wine that has been produced for more than five centuries on the islands of the Portuguese archipelago of the same name in the middle of the Atlantic. Currently, Negra Mole black grapes are used for economy Madeira, while the top versions are made from Malvasia, Bual, Verdelho and Sercial. In addition to the grapes, the four names also identify the style of Madeira (from sweeter to drier, in that order).
One of the particularities of this wine is that it is literally ‘stewed’, so as to reproduce the ancient process of storage in barrels for naval expeditions across tropical seas. Ageing ranges from a minimum of 3 up to 5, 10, 15 and 20 years.
The effects on whisky barrels, in general, are to add sweetness and spiciness (honey, candied citrus fruit, orange chocolate), some balsamic and earthy notes (almost peat) and a certain astringency and oxidation (precisely from maderization, i.e. stewing).
Bottled cask strength at 54.1% ABV, this Bruichladdich 15yo is single cask, unchillfiltered and part of the Hidden Casks Collection, a series of whiskies aged under 20 years from unusual distilleries. In this case Bruichladdich, the home of Port Charlotte and Octomore peated whiskies on Islay.
The colour is gold.
On the nose, complexity and balance stand out immediately. On the one hand, a delicate but persistent peat smoke and notes of white pepper; on the other, an impression of vanilla icing sugar, a lively hazelnut aroma, a nice slice of apple pie and a generous portion of cream puffs. Over all, an unusual hint of lard that envelops and supports. Over time, the different notes play off each other, gaining and losing intensity, but the whole has a truly unique compactness.
On the palate, the hint of smoked lard, with a dash of white pepper, is accompanied by a totally unexpected fragrance of caramelised popcorn, together with a sprinkling of vanilla and a robust dose of hazelnut. As on the nose, as the minutes pass, the whisky does not lose its tone, and the alcohol content is not noticeable at all.
The finish is really long and leaves a memory of lard and hazelnut in the mouth.
A whimsical whisky, capable of tuning profoundly different scents into a bizarre harmony. Perhaps not for all tastes, but so unique and original that it manages to carve out a significant place in the memory of the discerning drinker.