February 26, 2017
This week's review takes on an Islay whisky which is from a distillery that was previously known for producing predominantly unpeated whiskies. In fact, it would be rather surprising to note that this particular expression is unpeated as well!
Bruichladdich is a distillery that is known to some and mispronounced by many, but the whiskies which they produce have played some rather interesting and even important roles in various blends over the years.
What makes this particular expression significant is that it was distilled in 1992, when the distillery was under the control of previous owners, Whyte & Mackay. As such, the distillation regime would have been far different with regard to the type of spirit they were looking to produce.
Those who are familiar with the modern expressions of Bruichladdich would attest to the significant role that the barley used in the whisky production process plays with regard to shaping the overall character of the final spirit. The use of trickle distillation and fresh bourbon casks for maturation are designed to ensure that the barley's natural characteristics are preserved every step of the way.
This was not always the case in years gone by, as Whyte & Mackay utilised the spirit from the distillery primarily for blending purposes. As such, the distillation regime would have observed much faster distillation runs with different cut levels in order to derive different flavours and aromas.
As such, if one was to taste this expression side-by-side with a modern counterpart, the differences would be rather noticeable, yet not entirely surprising.
This week's review focuses on an expression of Bruichladdich which was distilled in 1992, matured for 20 years and bottled at a standard abv of 46% by independent bottlers Cooper's Choice.
Bruichladdich 1992 20 Years Old (46% abv, Bottled by Cooper's Choice)
Nose: Initial entry presents a fair bit of citrus in the form of lemon zest and lime juice, followed by hints of sea salt, white wine and supple oak. With time, faint traces of cinnamon and allspice emerge alongside wet sand and flinty hints.
Palate: The citrus hints are the most noticeable elements initially, before the sea salt, oak, wood spice and wet sand hints emerge. With time, the oak becomes more pronounced and intermingles nicely with the white wine, hints of bourbon and some late developing vanilla.
Finish: Medium on the finish, with the oak, vanilla, cinnamon and fading citrus hints carrying through to the end alongside vestigial traces of sea salt.
Balance: A rather well-balanced expression which showcases the slight maritime characteristics of the distillery as well as the sweet and citrusy notes that it is also known for. Considering that this was designated for blending purposes, it is a solid expression.
This expression is available for purchase by the bottle or the dram for in-bar consumption or by the bottle for retail/takeaway purposes. Please approach our friendly staff for more information and they will be more than happy to assist you with your enquiries.
Written By Brendan Pillai for The Single Cask
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