Thanks to /u/ForbiddenWaffle for pouring me this dram.
So you’re at the Bruichladdich distillery. And you’ve done one of their amazing tours. You walk into the little gift shop at the end. Love a little shop.
This isn’t filled with the usual knickknacks though. Instead, it has to pour your own samples. If you happened to be there in 2017, you could have poured Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Valinch Cask Exploration 14 Taigh-Bathair Bannaichte, but only if you could say the whole thing in one breath.
This whisky (I’m not saying it again) is one of the rare hand-poured distillery samples. It was aged solely in a first fill PX sherry casks for 11 years, poured at cask strength, and made from the heavy peated (but not super peated) group that falls under Port Charlotte.
But does it taste good? So often these days limited editions don’t always mean amazing. Let’s see if this is the case, shall we?
Distilled: November 21st, 2005
Bottled: May 2017
Age: 11 years
Cask Type: Sherry Butt
Cask Number: R15/195-001
Number of Bottles: 896
Colour: 10YR 7/10
Nose: Pecan pie, dry leaves, raspberry, lemon curd, eucalyptus, algae
Immediate brown sugar, nutty, dry aspects. Some vegetal, some buttery, all tasty. Some tartness around the edges, some funk. Water brings out more grass like a good host at a party.
It’s interesting that a heavily peated whisky and a first fill are battling it out here. The sherry influence is more menthol and the peat has gone more vegetal. Certainly, something you’d have as an exclusive, so far.
Taste: Cream cheese, raspberry cream, fresh pecans, entering a bakery in Autumn, popcorn, grilled pineapple
If the nose was just playing with you, the taste is ratcheting it all up. Immediate cream cheese, raspberry creaminess, lovely nuttiness, and this amazing overall butter filled a happy place. Which all of my happy places are filled with.
The butter aspect is cooked, nutty, and overall great. Some of the vegetal aspects are around the sides, and there’s just a hint of tropical/cinnamon notes.
Finish: Basil pesto, pizza dough, pralines & cream ice cream, fruit jerky, BBQ pit with everything on it
Herbal. If there’s one thing that this does oddly is that herbal part at the start of the finish. If any part of this showed off the youth, it’s on the finish with that and some yeast aspects to it. That said we don’t wait long for more of the nutty, sweet, and this cavalcade of meat once water is added. The peat heard me missing it and came back with a vengeance.
Conclusion: Butter, red fruit, and a smoker, all in one. Lovely. What more do you ask for? Oh, I know, no herbal aspects.
This goes beyond other peated whiskies by being really unique and vegetal rather than campfire. That may not sound like something you wanted to change, but it really does work out well. Lots of creaminess, lots of raspberry, and frankly a balance that you don’t see in most peated sherry malts.
If you see this, or really anything like this again, it’s a must buy in the shop. Heck if you needed a reason to believe that the shop itself is worth the trip, it’s this whisky.
Scotch review #1050, Islay review #284, Whisky Network review #1636