Any day we get to review Bruichladdich is a good day…
Jim McEwan 5.1 Bruichladdich cask #2477
Distilled on 11th July 2011, this whisky spent its life maturing a 1st fill bourbon cask and was bottled at 11 years old in July 2022. 238 bottles were released.
Initial aromas of maritime sea air, sand, and freshly squeezed citrus fruits. There’s a good amount of oak on the nose, slightly toasted with some sandalwood and roasted, salted pistachios. A little air brings out some orchard fruits, fresh apples and pears, alongside slight herbaceous mint/rosemary-like aromas. The alcohol is fairly prominent on the nose, giving a pepper spice to the whisky. There’s a mellow smokey note here we weren’t expecting, it’s not peated as such but there’s a charred, earthiness appearing here.
The palate starts off with some fresh lemon juice, going into sweet vanilla flavours as the palate develops. There’s some earthy herbal flavours, sweetened with barley sugars and light caramel. The alcohol gives a fizzy, pepper sensation as you take a sip, and the finish develops with some warm oak spice, wholemeal bread and a little coffee at the end. The mouthfeel has a reasonably oily texture, and after some air we’re getting more of the maritime, sea salt flavours appearing.
Nose (with water)
The nose now has more of a barley sugar, synthetic sugar sweetness coming through, alongside floral violet and lilac aromas. The citrus has morphed from lemon to orange, and we’re getting more of a zest and candied peel rather than fresh juice. The peppery alcohol has mellowed significantly, and we’re finding it very enjoyable to nose now.
Palate (with water)
In a similar vein to the reduced nose, we’re finding more orange-led citrus notes, sweeter barley sugars, candy floss moving into an oak spice led finish. The dram manages to maintain its mouthfeel, however the finish feels slightly shorter than before. The alcohol bite has mellowed significantly with water, and we’re getting a slightly creamier flavour coming through.
A salty, maritime malt with zippy citrus and peppery alcohol that gives the dram a good amount of complexity. Water helps to round out some of the rougher edges, turning this into a very sippable dram. It’s really good quality whisky, but we can’t help but be put off by the price.. it’s just too expensive for what it is. We’d happily have another dram though…
Jim McEwan 5.2 Port Charlotte Cask #1440
Distilled on 28th April 2009, this whisky spent its life maturing a 1st fill bourbon cask and was bottled at 13 years old in July 2022. 197 bottles were released.
A raw, ashy peat smoke hits the nose, deep earthy aromas alongside freshly ground black pepper and burnt leather. There’s a note of freshly crushed red grapes, lemon verbena and a slight soapiness in the background. Giving the dram some air, we’re finding the raw peat smoke to recede slightly, giving way to honey & lemon throat lozenges, vanilla and orange marmalade. Even at a whopping 62.9%, the alcohol feels in balance with the smoke and sweeter aromas, although we wouldn’t suggest putting your nose too deep into the glass!
The palate starts with sweet oak, a little charred mango, rum soaked sponge cake and malt syrup. The smoke isn’t as prevalent on the palate as it was on the nose, but it does provide a balance of earth and char to the whisky, as well as an ashy note on the finish. Speaking of the finish, it’s long and full of flavour with tobacco, tinned peaches in syrup and nutmeg. The mouthfeel is really nice too, it’s syrupy and full bodied.
Nose (with water)
Sour plums, lemon oil, more of an earthy, vegetal nose coming through now. Notes of grapefruit, vanilla and aniseed are appearing after a little more air. We’re not sure if we prefer the nose with water, we think it’s down to personal preference and the aromas you enjoy.
Palate (with water)
A spicier initial palate with pink peppercorns, pear skin, dried mango and oak spice coming through. The sweetness has slowly turned into a drier, wood-forward flavour but it still manages to retain some of those more tropical fruit notes. The mouthfeel stays syrupy, but the finish takes on those drier flavours mentioned earlier.
A thick, viscous dram that delivers flavours and aromas in abundance, all from a simple ex-bourbon cask. The dram posses good balance on the nose, and even better balance and complexity on the palate. We’re impressed with how well the peat integrates with the whisky overall, and we’re also impressed at how the alcohol isn’t overpowering on the nose or palate. We’re not big fans of adding water, it brings out a drier spice we’re not too fond of. It’s pricey but if you can afford it then you won’t be disappointed.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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