I have always really liked Bruichladdich which I know is one of those brands you either love or hate. I was brought into it by the trademark aqua coloured bottled although I must admit I was concerned I would pay a bottle which was fairly expensive and find out they were all marketing and no substance.
At the point some of you will be thinking that is exactly what they are, but that isn’t how I see it. I see a distillery which is a major employer on the island, who make craft style whisky and sell there product, for a premium but without taking the piss. (modulo the really old sherry casks recently at over £700 each)
I always have a bottle of something from the distillery open be it unpeated Bruichladdich, peated Port Charlotte, really really peated Octomore or even the Botanist gin. One of those examples always takes up one of the slots of open bottles I have in the cupboard.
At the moment it is this independently bottled unpeated Bruichladdich which is 11 years old and spent its whole maturation in a Rioja wine cask.
Claxton’s is based in yorkshire and I have bought and reviewed a few of there releases in the last couple of years. I really like the french perfume shaped bottled and the weight of it really adds to the premium feel. The prices on the most part though are very fair compared to some and they have a good distribution network now so most bottles can be picked up from the large website like Master of Malt.
Distilled on 27th July 2005 and put into cask 1605-1052 until 2016 where 339 70cl bottles were produced from the Rioja wine case. It has a strength of 57.2% ABV which was the cask strength and on the bottle it also shows it is natural colour and non-chill filtered. This is all good information you want to see especially with a single cask bottling. After all that is by definition what these kind of bottles are all about.
When I bought this a few years back is was around £89 pounds plus delivery I think which isn’t bad value. There isn’t any for sale just so it will be a case of checking auction website and paying a premium if you want to get one for yourself.
Colour – Reddish walnut hue
Nose – Tart and fruity strawberry and raspberry jam. The fruit smells are sharp and acidic. In time you can get some of the underlying malty spirit which is quite buttery. Mostly thought, in your face you have strong wood sap and tannins from the wine cask.
Palate – The texture is the usual thick Bruichladdich character you get with the official bottles as well. Lots of pepper and spices provide quite the kick even with water. Very tannic and full of wood influence.
Finish – The finish follows the palate. The length is long and has again loads of wood notes, very drying and bitter at the back end.
This was a very popular bottle when it was released. Bruichladdich is know for its wine maturation and this is one of the first fill heavily wood influenced bottles for which they are known. I really like it but its not an everyday kind of dram. It will take you on a ride with its powerful pepper and spicy kicks.