Thanks to /u/bananavanman for pouring me a sample.
So as some people know, I GM Pathfinder games. Or for those of you not down the collective rabbit hole of Pen and Paper Role Player Games, I play a version of Dungeon and Dragons that is similar to the third edition.
So I’m the GM, or Game Master, and thus I do a bunch of talking, saying all of those wonderful names that have roots in languages I don’t speak with pronunciations from around the world.
Enter Steven Vanbockrijck. And the fact I’m still happy I don’t do many spoken word reviews. Steve, as I call him because of my linguistic abilities, works for Rémy Cointreau, and was sent as the Finance Director to Bruichladdich upon RC purchasing B on the island of I.
I’ve been the project manager/finance guy walking around people making a product you like. It can make you nervous being the one whose job it is to walk up to an artist and ask “why’d you spend this money” or “where is the product” or even “could you do your job cheaper”?
Steve-o has since left the distillery, living in Geneva now. It’s a tough life. However, from his write-up, it would seem that R-to-the-C-izzle didn’t change Bruich-Daddy at all, instead hiring more people to the site, letting them get trained up, and walking away. Granted some people trying some of the new releases may differ.
So with S-Dog leaving out of Bruichladdich, it was time for him to pick a whiskey. The man loves his Scotch whisky and personally wanted to go to Islay when the purchase happened. Wanting to go to Islay, a small village to live and work at a small place as the representative of a large, scary, potentially baby eating company takes some guts.
Thus we have Bruichladdich Laddie Crew Valinch 31 – Steven Vanbockrijck. It’s a young, ex-Zinfandel Wine cask matured dram.
That’s pretty interesting from Ven-man if I do say so myself. It’s quintessential financial cask. Young, interesting cask, cask strength, premium but will break even. Probably. Heck, probably not, these casks are pricey as fuck.
Let’s just get to the taste, shall we?
Price: Distillery only, can’t say if they have it still
Stated age: 9-years-old
Cask Type: Ex-Zinfandel Wine Cask
Cask Number: 0714
Number of bottles: 346
Colour: 2.5YR 4/10
Nose: Cranberry, brine, orange chocolate chip cookie, cinnamon, burnt flowers.
Water brought out the burnt flowers, like a straight-edge goth going to prom on a Gondola. The rest of this interesting mixture of Autumn fruit, citrus, and spice. Not to mention some salt to really weird it up.
This is the second Zinfandel cask whisky I’ve ever had. I don’t know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t my dream prom date (from when I was in High School).
Taste: Cinnamon, beets, brine, cocoa, plum, orange, fermented lime
Water brought out fermented lime, like an old ghost ship thawing out of the arctic circle. Fewer bones and death too, which is appreciated in my whisky. I don’t think I’ve thanked Bruichladdich lately for not putting dead people in my whisky. Thanks.
Earth is dominant here. Acid too. It’s earthy and acidic and that works nicely together. It’s almost like some sort of side dish that everyone pretends is good for you but seriously you’re just eating an apple crumble with a bit of turnip in it.
Finish: Dry cinnamon, hot sauce, bay leaf, malt, anisette, hoppy (vegetal/floral)
Water brought out the anisette/hops, like some sort of spiced hipster beer that I’m probably going to buy and enjoy because, well, I’m into D&D, have comics, and review whisky. I am what I am.
Hot, very spicy, with lots of floral/vegetal aspects. Really fun to dissect.
Conclusion: A different take on dry cinnamon/floral/citrus dram, with more dry elements and more vegetal aspects. Normally I’d be feeling annoyed at the citrus, at the earth, maybe at the vegetal aspects. However the more I had this, the more I found that was really interesting. This odd mixture of cinnamon as savoury, more interesting floral hoppy aspects. Even odd, complex, interesting aspects.
I really don’t think this is going to be many people’s fun type of dram. It’s really weird. It’s a whisky geek fuel, pure and simple, which is really what you should expect from the valinch series.
Scotch review #1092, Islay review #294, Whisky review #1695