Bruichladdich Rock’ndaal Valinch Cask #1547 & Signatory Vintage 1992 Bruichladdich (Bottled for the Nectar)


Back on Islay taking a look at the festival valinch from Bruichladdich alongside an older release from Signatory.

    Bruichladdich Rock’ndaal Valinch Cask #1547

    Region: Islay

    ABV: 55.7%

    Price: £75.00 (500ml)

    Distilled on the 1st of December 2004, the spirit for this festival release was matured for 18 years in a first-fill port pipe before being bottled for the 2023 Feis Ile. A total of 1,200 bottles were released.

    Nose

    It's worth noting here that after 18 years in a first-fill port pipe, this whisky is only light amber in color. Additionally, it's worth mentioning that this whisky really needed some time in the glass to open up, as it was initially quite closed off, with the dominant note being damp clothes. However, after allowing it to sit, we discovered that notes of porridge oats, pistachios, crème anglaise, and strawberry jam really stood out for us.

    Palate

    On the palate, there are initial notes of black tea, cloves, strawberry, chili jam, warehouse funk, and coffee. It has a nice mouthfeel. Going back to it, we noticed a burnt brown sugar note and an oak flavour that resembles chewing on a branch. The mid-palate is slightly too bitter for our tastes, but that bitterness fades on the finish, leaving behind a hint of sweetness. We were expecting much more sweetness after 18 years. We didn’t get that but what we did encounter was definitely interesting.

    Nose (with water)

    With the addition of water, we discover that crème anglaise becomes the dominant note. Water has also revealed a subtle hint of iodine and ammonia. We’re not really getting a huge amount of red fruits sweetness now, with the strawberry jam having disappeared and replaced instead by treacle / brown sugar.

    Palate (with water)

    When reduced, the mouthfeel maintains its quality, but the finish becomes spicier, albeit not in an unpleasant manner. There’s more red fruits now, but not enough of them for our liking. We’re also getting an acidity that reminds us of tomatoes or ketchup. There’s also a strong earthy note now.

    Conclusion

    It’s not the easiest dram in the world to appreciate we. We came in expecting a “port bomb” and got something completely different. Saying that we found what’s here interesting and would happily have another dram or two. We expect some will like this more than us and some will hate it… for us it’s a 7/10.

    Score: 7/10

    Value

    An 18yo at £75 is a no brainier.

    Signatory Vintage 1992 Bruichladdich (Bottled for the Nectar)

    Region: Islay

    ABV: 51.9%

    Price: £165.00

    This Signatory release was distilled on the 21st of October 1992 and matured in a bourbon hogshead for 24 years before being bottled on the 2nd of October 2017 exclusively for the Nectar. A total of 277 bottles were produced.

    Nose

    Initially, we detect pepper spice, sea spray, strawberry yogurt, and lemon juice. The alcohol is well integrated, making it pleasant to nose. After allowing it some time in the glass, we discover hints of limeade, a subtle touch of caramel, and a little vanilla essence. There's also a floral note that is hard to pinpoint. It's as if we have walked past a garden and caught a whiff of the various plants in the air.

    Palate

    Initially, we encounter notes of orange peel, sour lemons, dark chocolate, and a slightly excessive amount of ginger and cinnamon spice. Giving it time in the glass reveals concentrated lime cordial, and pepper spice. This spice lingers with the dark chocolate, and some raw kale on a good length finish. The mouthfeel isn’t thin, but is a touch unremarkable.

    Nose (with water)

    Reduction brings out some gingerbread, fresh wood, toast, pine cones, and a touch of plastic. Most of the unreduced notes are still here. Although the strawberries are now more like raspberries. The nose has taken a few drops well.

    Palate (with water)

    The mouthfeel has slightly diminished, and we are experiencing a bit more spice, particularly on the finish, which retains a satisfying length. The sweetness is more one dimensional now and show’s prominently as honey. There’s also a hint of verbena. Personally, we’d skip water with this one.

    Conclusion

    This cask was likely quite tired, but any issues with it have been nicely balanced out over time. While it may not be our favourite Bruichladdich ever, it still remains a good whisky 7/10.

    Score: 7/10

    Value

    Laddie prices have being going up and up these last few years making this a bargain relatively speaking.

    • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
    • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
    • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
    • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
    • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
    • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
    • 4 - Below average. Passable.
    • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
    • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
    • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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