Type: Single malt Scotch whisky
Malt Mileage rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Forming part of Bruichladdich’s “Rare Cask Series”, this single malt is from a batch of 22 casks of whisky that were distilled and laid to rest in third fill ex-bourbon casks in 1985. These 22 casks of the whisky sat in Bruichladdich’s Warehouse 14 until 2012 when the distillery’s former master blender, Jim McEwan, re-casked the whisky into fresh bourbon. Then, in 2017, the whisky had a brief rendezvous with French oak before being bottled.
In total, this whisky was aged in oak for 32 years. And what a ride it was – 27 years sitting in third fill ex-bourbon casks housed in Bruichladdich’s warehouse 14, then another 5 years in fresh bourbon casks, then a stint in French oak sourced from a French Chateaux.
Nose: Having spent so much time in third fill ex-bourbon casks, it’s no surprise that a woodsy aroma fills the glass and room – there’s dusty nutmeg, varnished wood, walnuts, wood vanilla and an intricate labyrinth of wood spices lifted by a deep leather, coconut oil, tobacco and a sappy honey-like sweetness that keeps morphing back and forth into dried fig, blueberry/blackberry jam and rapadura sugar. I’m falling head over heels for this one.
Taste: Sweet, woody and spicy all at the same time, this whisky is robust and has an effervescence that leaves my palate tingling. Its heart of bark, walnut, nutmeg, toasted coconut and tea leaves is enlivened by fiery spice (especially peppermint), lively orange and lemon peel, dark fruit jam (figs, plums, blackberry, forest fruits) and uplifting cola. At times, it tasted like I was biting a honey flavoured cigar.
Finish: Lemony and zesty with honey and burnt caramel which fades into subtle walnut, hickory, peppery rocket and gentle wood spice.
Overall: An intricately layered woodsy character is only one dimension of this superbly balanced single malt, but who knew wood tastes so bloody good? Excuse me while I chew the cork from this beauty’s bottle.