Today we're looking at a new independent bottler, Brave New Spirits, and their Voodoo brand bottles.
Voodoo The Bloody Sacrifice Batch 001 (Williamson)
This release is a 10yo Williamson that was matured in first fill barrique wine casks that were previously home to Italian Amarone red wine, and is a limited release of 526 bottles.
There is some TCP, and iodine followed up by red fruits or more specifically cranberries and raspberries. Going back to after some air reveals a little ash, warm butter, and some Rumtopf. It’s got a really restrained nose for a Laphroaig, and we’re not finding this as easily identifiable as the distillery usually is.
This opens with some fiery ginger beer and pepper notes on the tongue. This is followed by notes of dried cherries, strawberry jam, and raspberries. There’s a light ash smoke here as well. Going back to it and there’s a slight burnt wood taste in the background. Its not got the best mouthfeel we’ve ever had from a Laphroaig. There’s also a little too much peppery spice on a short finish for us, and we’re finding it’s still fairly alcoholic at 49.1%. From a peat perspective this is pretty tame for a Laphroaig and we would not have pegged it as one.
Nose (with water)
Water really brings out more of the red wine / cask influence, and the rumtopf influence has been pushed to the fore of the nose. The peat has really taken a back seat now. Personally, we preferred the undiluted nose.
Palate (with water)
The spice / alcohol burn on the finish has been tamed, but we’ve also lost what was left of the Laphroaig character. It’s now got a light bitterness which wasn’t there without water, similar to grapefruit but sweeter. The ashy note is also very faint. The mouthfeel is still a touch watery, but giving it air reveals a medicinal note we’re enjoying.
The age / cask has diminished the peat, and in exchange you get a decent hit of sweetness, but for our preferences it’s lost too much of the spirit character, and is a touch disappointing. if you like some sweetness and fruit with slight smoke hit then you’ll probably find more to enjoy here. If you’re looking for a big powerful Laphroaig then you’ll be a disappointed. Personally, at this price we’d buy a distillery bottling instead. The Carderias port and wine is still available and a better shout than this.
Voodoo The Rusty Cauldron Batch 001 (Caol Ila)
This Caol Ila is a 11yo that started its life in a refill sherry butts before being finished in casks from Chateau Lafite (Bordeaux red wine). This is a limited release of 1251 bottles at its cask strength of 54%.
There’s a mustiness, followed by some burning cinders, plain yoghurt, and red plums. Going back it after air and we’re getting some beef smothered in ketchup, a malty / cereal note, and ethanol. We’re a little disappointed as the ethanol makes us think this is at least a few years younger.
For us it’s like the spirit and cask haven’t fully integrated and the Caol Ila peatiness is fighting with with the cask influence. We’re getting a sweet notes of white sugar, followed by some grapefruit, and blood orange. The peat is showing as brunt wood. This has a better mouthfeel than the Williamson, but is still a touch hot and we would have guessed it had a higher ABV as we’re getting a little too much red chilli on the finish.
Nose (with water)
The meaty sherry notes are more dominant on the reduced nose with the peat pushed to the background. We’re also getting some oak, oats, and tonka beans. The ethanol note has disappeared, and personally we think a drop or two of water has helped this.
Palate (with water)
We’re now getting more smoke on the palate, but its very short lived. Water has adder some cheap own brand cola and more bitter grapefruit. It’s got a really short finish with a little salt lingering, but there’s now less spice on the finish and the chilli is now cracked black pepper.
We’re not getting a huge amount of sherry or red wine influence from this, and while it’s clearly peated again we wouldn’t have automatically jumped to Caol Ila as the distillery. We’ve enjoyed this more than the Williamson, but not enough to give it any higher than 6.5/10.
- 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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