To my friends (and whoever will listen) I go on about Bruichladdich rather a lot. Suffice to say: I reckon they’re the best distillery in Scotland. They’d achieve huge respect for the whisky alone – generally speaking, wonderful artisan drams with the occasional miss – but it’s their attitude to the environment and the land, which marks them out as a truly wonderful business in my eyes.
But what about the Bruichladdich Renaissance Feis Ile 2011? It was distilled in 1998, aged in bourbon casks and bottled at 46% for the 2011 Feis Ile, the Islay Festival (one day, I will make it to Islay). There were only 2,500 of these made, so there aren’t many around. Hopefully it would stand up to the rest of their range.
Colour: rather pale straw-coloured liquid, diluted apple juice. On the nose: very familiar Laddie aroma on this. Rich, butterscotch, spicy and oaky. A whiff of citrus in the distance.
In the mouth: they’ve done it again. There’s a fullness, oiliness and such a lovely weight in the mouth. It’s the first thing you notice – it just sits there on your tongue. Is it the shape of the stills that does this, as it’s consistently brilliant. Then: the warming maltiness comes through. Chunks of ginger in syrup, almost bourbon-like in that sweetness, but with far more depth. A bold oaky-rich finish that goes on for ages. It’s certainly up there with the finest of their range, for what it’s worth.
A bottle of the Renaissance Feis Ile 2011 will set you back almost £100, but you can get samples from Master of Malt for a fraction of that.