Bruichladdich – fiery, brave little distillery based on Islay – have over the past 10 years been releasing some fascinating experiments. Not all have hit the mark, but they’ve been genuinely interesting efforts. So on to the 17 Year Old Rum Cask, matured for 15 years in bourbon and then another 2 years in rum casks. The rum, incidentally, was from the Uitvlugt and Enmore distilleries in Guyana.
Colour: pale gold, autumn sunlight. Surprisingly light for something that’s been sitting in wood for 17 years. On the nose: it’s pretty unusual for a whisky. Tropical notes above the malted barley, fruity – mango, blood orange, the waft of some Caribbean cocktail by the beach.
In the mouth: I don’t know how Bruichladdich consistently get this wonderful, full, velvety mouth feel, but it’s here again. Delightful balance between the gentle flavours of the cask (oak and, of course, rum) and the headiness of the malted barley, but this isn’t something as heavily sweet as a sherry finish; there’s a wonderful dry edge, not dissimilar to a good red wine. Everything about the flavours is subtle and mellow; the grape-like fruits, the interaction with the barely. The finish is exclusively an encore from the barley.
Tell you what though: most definitely an everyday dram for the summer, something I didn’t think I’d find. Most whiskies, especially the peaty ones, generally make you want to curl up by a wood burning stove while you stare out the windows at a roaring gale, but this is a different dram entirely.
All in all, another fascinating and successful experiment from the guys at Bruichladdich. A bottle of this will set you back about £60.