The needle hits the wax and the rousing chords reverberate across
the house. Into the valley. Sometimes
you need that catalyst, an usher, the motivation, call it whatever you will to
force yourself to engage with a whisky.
Why soldiers go marching.
Today I’m faced with the dilemma that is Bruichladdich. A
distillery adored by many and loathed by myself. Recently I’ve found others who
feel somewhat disappointed and disillusioned with the distillery. One going so
far as to say they should just stick with making gin. This disease is catching.
Part of me wishes to be won over, whilst the other side
believes it was closed for a reason and it should remain that way. Being a
major employer on the island, it is heartening to see it contributing so much
to the region once again; just the whisky remains beyond my appreciation. I’m
never one to quit on a quest and will engage with bottles to try and find a
glimmer of hope. Ahoy! Ahoy! Land, sea
Cadenheads if you didn’t know already are bottling monthly throughout
2017 to celebrate their 175th anniversary. As much as I respect
several other independent bottlers, Cadenheads lead the field with their range
of whiskies and a fair approach to pricing. It’s not rocket science but simply
a fair price for a decent whisky which is why it wins favour with so many
enthusiasts. Out of concealment.
With the recent Burns tasting at the Edinburgh shop and my
review separate review of the 16-year-old Bunnahabhain which is incoming, I’ve managed to
experience a sizeable chunk of the initial January outturn. Looking forward throughout
the year I’ll apologise for all the reviews from just one bottler. It’s
unavoidable given they’ll no doubt have stacked up some of their best casks to
be unleashed upon the public. Thereby demonstrating just why they are so
popular. All systems failing.
Recently I had the opportunity to acquire a bottle share of
this Bruichladdich from the January outturn. From memory I was almost banned
from purchasing a sample given my general animosity towards the distillery. It’s
not cool to dislike Bruichladdich. However, I shave on a regular basis, rarely
wear tweed or brogues so I’m far from cool - or as I prefer to view it – I’m
the black sheep and refuse to follow the herd. The placards unroll.
Living near Dunfermline, there can only be one song to
uplift and motivate someone to face an obstacle such as this 24-year-old
Bruichladdich. Bottled at 53.3% strength and comprising of a trio of ex-bourbon
hogsheads vatted, resulting in an outturn of 588 bottles. Priced at £84, this
would have been originally distilled just prior to the Whyte & Mackay
takeover. Immediately the corporate giant decided that Bruichladdich was
surplus to requirements and shut the distillery down towards the end of 1993. The
rest as they say is very much history and has passed into whisky legend. Ahoy! Ahoy! Deceived and then punctured.
The Skids and their classic rallying call Into The Valley
reaches its climax and now I feel ready. Time for the audit, the gathering
trial, a collector’s dilemma, repositioned and filed.
Colour: brushed copper
Nose: malty with a mix of sawdust and honeycomb. There's a slight meaty aspect to it as well but the dominate aspect is a creamy vanilla with a char from the cask. Jacobs crackers and oddly a sweet cinnamon moving into an Australian eucalyptus oil. With water toffee is noticeable and a floral note.
Taste: more sweetness with red grapes and a pine like resin. Citrus fruits with a focus on oranges with a flush of mint. Water delivers syrup.
Overall: a pretty decent Bruichladdich, I suppose there might be more to the pre-1993 closure and its whiskies based on this evidence. The palate cannot match the nose but there's enough here to enjoy for the asking price. Another quality whisky from the January Cadenhead outturn.
Labels: bruichladdich, cadenhead, featured, islay