Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrels: N/A
Added coloring: No
Owner: Berry Bros & Rudd
Average price: € 45.00
Official website: www.bbr.com
A family of London wine and spirits merchants active since 1698, Berry Bros. & Rudd are legitimately the oldest merchants in the industry in Britain.
Starting out as coffee merchants, they soon moved on to selling spices and other infusions, then wines (which they supplied to the Crown) and, of course, whiskies.
In 1923 they launched the world-famous Cutty Sark label, which they sold in 2010 to the Edrington Group in exchange for another brand, Glenrothes, which returned to its previous owners only seven years later.
Now they only present themselves as bottlers of blended and single casks.
Among the company’s various records, it’s worth mentioning the launch of the industry’s first online wine shop, which opened in 1995.
The bottle I’m reviewing today is part of The Classic Range, blended whiskies subdivided by region (Speyside and Islay) or by age (peaty casks and ex-sherry), distributed in different batches.
Second batch of the Islay blend, with whisky from the island’s “most representative” distilleries (which means everything and nothing), including Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain.
Pale yellow in the glass.
Acrid and marine peat that goes up the nostrils, with a strong toasted and harbour component of grilled fish in brine, which does not hide a fresher soul, at times balsamic, of vanilla, honey, Catalan cream, a sprinkling of lemon and pine needles. Penetrating.
The smoked herring remains king on the palate, wrapped in a very exuberant tarry and acrid blanket, which tends to cover (let’s say even tar) the other aromas leaving little room for complexity and nuances. Under this thick blanket there are traces of liquorice, cloves, salted caramel, candied orange and dark chocolate. The balsamic component remains distant but present.
The finish is quite long and ashy, of salt, liquorice, orange and burnt tobacco.
The aromas are deeper and more varied than they are in the glass, with a blended blend that extracts the peaty heart of Islay, making it the total protagonist, to the detriment of the other ingredients. In my opinion certain components deserved more attention and would have given depth to a whisky that remains pleasant but not incisive.