Thanks to /u/theslicknick6 for the sample
Trying to follow Bruichladdich releases has to be one of the hardest things whisky nerds can do. Not only do they have three different lines, they also have a variety of different and odd type releases.
Why? Well they had a lot of whisky that needed rebarreling, and they had access to odd barrels. Odd barrels being wine barrels due to connections with the wine industry, not odd barrels as in they need to go upstate to the place your parents sent the aunt you aren’t allowed to talk about anymore.
Thus we end up with Bruichladdich 21 Cuvee 382 – La Berenice, one of three 21 year old whiskies released at once by Bruichladdich. The other two are Eroica and PX, which use Limousin and PX casks to finish, respectively.
But we’re not here to talk about them. This is about Marsha. Or whatever the non-forty year old version of that meme is. This is about Berenice.
So they have old Bruichladdich from the time when the barrels were garbage (add a Euro-trash accent there and it’s funny) that they finished in sweet wine barrels. Specifically Barsac and Sauternes wine casks.
Sauternes we’ve seen before: It’s a sweet wine from a specific part of Bordeaux that has been infected by noble rot.
Barsac is new though: For me at least. Turns out it’s like the Glenlivet region is to Speyside: A region within a region. It’s within the Sauternes region, and due to the soil, produces lighter and fresher wines.
Nice. I should try some. However right now I’m writing about whisky. And have a lot of whisky to drink too. Not to mention it’s early in the morning.
I’ve said in the past that I prefer Sauternes casks when used on older whiskies. I’ve also said that these casks are like dealing with snakes. Some days they are okay, some days you end up bitten.
Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Types: American oak casks then finished in sweet Barsac and Sauternes casks
Colour: 5YR 4/8
Nose: Cherry, oak, brown sugar, lemon zest, mineral, strawberry flowers
Lots of red fruit on the nose. The American oak takes the forefront of the whisky when you nose it. The wine casks are trying to add something, but they may not be strong enough.
Like the floral aspects of this. Strawberry flowers smell like strawberries with more floral side to them. I guess I could have just said “Floral and strawberry” however my parents actually gave a shit about me and introduced me to flowers growing up, so fuck me, right?
Taste: Caramel, strawberry, mineral, lime, watery, peanut
Odd, the first note makes you wonder if this even had a white wine influence. Honestly it tastes more like an Oloroso finish give the red fruits.
Biggest complaint on this one is it’s watery. The lack of flavour strength, as well as the mouthfeel are not doing it any favours.
Finish: Grass, tart, earth, ginger, tea, watery, cashew, cereal
Finish is interesting. Let me get the downside out of the way: it’s watery again.
That out of the way, we have a mixture of a buttery dram and some Highland notes here. Like the amount of flavours, the nuttiness, and the cereal elements. Not to mention the tea/tannins are quite nice here.
Conclusion: An interesting idea, just needed something else going on. From what I’m assuming, this was an unreactive cask that should have been used for nails originally, and the wine casks were doing most of the work.
And do it they did. I’d say the best parts of this were the sweet wine casks. I wouldn’t recommend this whisky because the age and the flavour profile/complexity don’t match up. It’s quite young. That said, it does do some unique things. So kudos for polishing a turd on this one.
Scotch review #678, Islay review #148, Whisky Network review #1137