Thank you to ScotchGuy_TO for the dram.
Enjoying Bruichladdich is like enjoying Law & Order: If you want to do the whole thing, you better give up all your other plans. At one point it was impossible to keep up with the amount of releases of Bruichladdich Distillery Bottlings (OB) per month. Add to the independent bottlings, weird bottlings (still looking for a sample of Fishky) and store only bottlings and you’ll be wishing you were hunting something easier, like old Doctor Who episodes.
Recently I’ve decided to take out the Bruichladdich samples that have been kicking around. Up first, the last whisky that was supposed to be part of our end of year tasting (that was in April), Bruichladdich 18 2001 Archives.
Simple enough idea: It’s a single cask, first-fill sherry hogshead matured whisky. Full cask strength and picked out by Archives, which has been pretty good to me.
But how does it taste? I’ve had many sherried Bruichladdich, and admittedly I lean towards Port Charlotte typically. Let’s see how it goes this time, shall we?
Price: € 180
Vintage: September 19, 2001
Bottled: September 2019
Cask type: First Fill Sherry Hogshead
Cask number: 310
Number of bottles: 249
Colour: 2.5YR 1/6
Nose: Red licorice, sulphur, green banana, dark chocolate mint, toffee, plum crumble
Big sweet fruit note, matches, and then more. This takes a kitchen sink approach and ramps it up to a bakeshop level for it. If you don’t like sulphur, run. If you’re diabetic, you shouldn’t be drinking a lot of alcohol anyway. Just get this and have it in safe amounts, per your doctor.
Think I covered my butt enough. It’s a lot. Funk, rich, rich, cereal, yet still sharp and acidic enough to be balanced. It’s a 10,000 kg elephant doing backflips.
Taste: Creamsicle, grape soda, blondie, sulphur, cinnamon toast
Vanilla, orange, and fruity. Nice well developed cereal note, more sulphur, and water brings out spice and more toast.
It’s like angry toast, basically. Or like having an angry meal. I enjoy it, but it’s going to have to be the only whisky I have. Or the last one. Heck, I’m glad I didn’t plan more.
Finish: Pork chop/charcoal BBQ, banana, toffee, cinnamon hearts, buttercream icing, musty/dust
Big meat, funk, sweet/caramel/butter, spice, and some dust. Less balanced than the nose was, but just as crazy as the rest.
Conclusion: Angry, tasty, and somewhat green and dust. You have to love cinnamon to enjoy this. You really have to be okay with green notes (green banana can be off putting for some). You have to be completely fine with sulphur.
If that’s you, you’re great. This is a great Bruichladdich. This is what you used to hunt for. You’d have 12 offerings and one like this. It’s so close to being as good as some Black Arts. Heck, given how grim the recent Black Arts have been, it’s better than a lot of them.
Scotch review #1566, Islay review #403, Whisky Network review #2290