Type: Single malt Scotch whisky
Origin: Islay, Scotland
Malt Mileage rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
In 1986 the spirit that eventually became this whisky was filled into Oloroso sherry butts, and there it sat for 26 years maturing on Scotland’s isle of Islay. In 2012 Bruichladdich’s former Master Distiller, Jim McEwan, filled this whisky (which, by then, was 26 year old single malt) into Pedro Ximinez sherry butts from Cádiz in Spain (bodega Fernando de Castilla, to be exact). About four years later in 2016, after a total of three decades in sherry wood (26 years in Oloroso sherry butts and about 4 years in PX sherry butts), the whisky was bottled with no colouring, no chill filtration and at its natural strength.
Nose: Soon after I pop open the cork, the sweet smell of sherry wafts to my nose. I feel like I’ve unleashed a genie from its bottle. While the magic coming out of the bottle won’t grant me three wishes, it still fills the room with the aroma of mulled wine and balsamic. I lift the glass to my nose, and the whisky smells winy and vinegary with the accompanying fragrance of old furniture, leather and varnished wood. Sherry and wood have married beautifully over the decades; tobacco, cocoa and fresh mint are marbled through the dense syrupy aroma of preserved dates, prunes, dried figs and raisins.
Taste: Lip-smacking and flavourful, it is unmistakable that this is an old heavily sherried whisky – it is syrupy and sweet with dried dark fruits abounding, especially black and sour cherries, dried figs, dates and raisins. That fruit slowly fades, allowing dark chocolate, vanilla, maduro cigars, caramel, sea salt, candied orange peel and cooked pear to shine. After swallowing the whisky my palate gently dries and my mouth then waters like a slobbering St Bernard on heat (fitting, I guess, as they’re always depicted carrying barrels of booze).
Finish: The sweet dark dried fruit glide into a long and lavish finish, with prune, hints of leather, the taste of a freshly cut cigar and flashes of cinnamon, cedar, and herbal oregano. Ladies and gentlemen, this big and bold old sherry bomb is… well… it’s the bomb!