Dramfool’s Gold Bruichladdich 32yo cask #001130 & Jim McEwan Signature Collection 8.1 Bruichladdich cask #2302


Continuing the week with another few drams from Bruichladdich, this time both bottled by Dramfool under the Jim McEwan Signature Collection and the new Dramfool Gold series.

Dramfool’s Gold Bruichladdich 32yo cask #001130

Region: Islay

ABV: 49.6%

Price: £630.00

This marks the inaugural release in the new Dramfool's GOLD range: a 32-year-old Laddie distilled on 20th March 1992, which was then left to age in a first-fill bourbon barrel. A total of 174 bottles were produced in this release.

Nose

The nose bursts open with a mixture of peaches, fresh apple, fudge cake, vanilla fondant icing and some old antique furniture. It’s got a properly old whisky aroma, perhaps not 32 years but definitely up there in age. Going back and we’re finding lemon drops, melon liqueur, varnished wood and a slight bit of sea air that we commonly get from Bruichladdich. Time and air brings iced gems, sugar cookies and icing sugar in general.

Palate

The palate opens with a citrus-forward fruit bowl, oranges, limes, lemons, along with some apples, pear skin and a little bit of grapefruit bitterness appearing at the end. The mouthfeel is very pleasant, oily and viscous, with a long long finish that gives hints of dark chocolate, wood spice and ginger. It’s not overly spicy at all, but there is a bit of alcohol that tingles the tongue. Time and air brings out more of a confectionary shop, light brown sugar, vanilla pods and some toffee bon bons. It’s not particularly salty or maritime, we wouldn’t have jumped to Bruichladdich straight away.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose brings a touch on menthol out, along with sweeter aromas, synthetic vanilla essence, vanilla ice cream too. There’s also soft stone fruits, peaches and nectarines, maybe even a bit of Blackpool rock. We’re still getting a bit of that sea spray too.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate opens with more sugary sweetness, in the same vein as the reduced nose, mostly icing sugar and Chantilly cream. There’s a bit of black pepper spice that appears on the end of the palate, moving into grated ginger puree on the finish. The mouthfeel is still lovely and the finish still lingers on, lots of fruit and a little bit of marzipan too.

Conclusion

It’s a lovely whisky that ticks a lot of boxes for us, but it’s just missing something that would take it to the next level for us. Technically it’s very good, well rounded, balanced, good mouthfeel, good length finish, but there’s a touch too much spice that we hoped would be hidden by the whiskies age. Water brings a combination of sweet and spicy aromas and flavours out, it’s good with or without a drop. It’s definitely an 8/10, some may go a touch higher.

Score: 8/10

Value

£630 is a steep price for a whisky. However, in defense of this release, it's worth noting that the distillery has recently introduced a 30-year-old expression at an even higher price point.


Jim McEwan Signature Collection 8.1 Bruichladdich cask #2302

Region: Islay

ABV: 59.2%

Price: £295.00

Distilled on 16th September 2010, this whisky spent its life maturing in a 1st fill Jurançon Barrique and was bottled at 13 years old. 256 bottles were released.

Nose

We’re met with a strong dessert wine impression on the nose, very syrupy, oranges, ginger, apricots, caramel sauce and sponge cake. There’s an abundance of dried fruits, dates, sultanas and dried cranberries, alongside cinnamon sticks and cloves. The cask influence is very prominent here, we’re not finding too much spirit character. Going back and we’re getting some toasted oak, waffle cones and flamed orange peel.

Palate

The palate reminds us of Terrys chocolate orange, lots of upfront orange essence, milky chocolate and lots of brown sugar, moving into Big Red cinnamon chewing gum… my god it’s spicy. There’s a lovely silky mouthfeel and lots of that warm citrus and cocoa, but the spice overtakes the palate as it develops, leaving fresh green chillis and black pepper tingling our tongues. Going back and we’re getting a little copper, Jamaican ginger cake, dried currants and a little bit of dry earth too.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose reminds us more of a nutty oloroso sherry, almond marzipan, toasted hazelnuts and truffles. There’s still a backbone of that dessert wine sweetness, alongside those dried fruits and warn oak spices. The alcohol feels very well balanced, it’s very enjoyable to nose.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate begins sweeter than before, it’s got blackcurrants and Irn-Bru, maraschino cherries in syrup, toffee sauce and ginger nut biscuits. The spice has really mellowed down, it’s much more in balance now. It also maintains the syrupy mouthfeel, and is overall quite lovely with a few drops of water.

Conclusion

Is there a term for dessert-wine-bomb? If not, this dram may have invented it. So much syrupy, sweet goodness with a fair bit of spice behind it. Water really helps to mellow the dram and balance it out, making it very enjoyable. There’s not too much spirit character here, but we really enjoy it nonetheless. It’s an 8/10, as long as it’s had a few drops of water.

Score: 8/10

Value

None of these Jim McEwan releases are value for money, but you don’t need us to tell you that.

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  • 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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