The needle hits the wax and the rousing chords reverberate across the house. Into the valley. Sometimes you need that catalyst, an usher, the motivation, call it whatever you will to force yourself to engage with a whisky. Why soldiers go marching.
Today I’m faced with the dilemma that is Bruichladdich. A distillery adored by many and loathed by myself. Recently I’ve found others who feel somewhat disappointed and disillusioned with the distillery. One going so far as to say they should just stick with making gin. This disease is catching.
Part of me wishes to be won over, whilst the other side believes it was closed for a reason and it should remain that way. Being a major employer on the island, it is heartening to see it contributing so much to the region once again; just the whisky remains beyond my appreciation. I’m never one to quit on a quest and will engage with bottles to try and find a glimmer of hope. Ahoy! Ahoy! Land, sea and sky.
Cadenheads if you didn’t know already are bottling monthly throughout 2017 to celebrate their 175th anniversary. As much as I respect several other independent bottlers, Cadenheads lead the field with their range of whiskies and a fair approach to pricing. It’s not rocket science but simply a fair price for a decent whisky which is why it wins favour with so many enthusiasts. Out of concealment.
With the recent Burns tasting at the Edinburgh shop and my review separate review of the 16-year-old Bunnahabhain which is incoming, I’ve managed to experience a sizeable chunk of the initial January outturn. Looking forward throughout the year I’ll apologise for all the reviews from just one bottler. It’s unavoidable given they’ll no doubt have stacked up some of their best casks to be unleashed upon the public. Thereby demonstrating just why they are so popular. All systems failing.
Recently I had the opportunity to acquire a bottle share of this Bruichladdich from the January outturn. From memory I was almost banned from purchasing a sample given my general animosity towards the distillery. It’s not cool to dislike Bruichladdich. However, I shave on a regular basis, rarely wear tweed or brogues so I’m far from cool – or as I prefer to view it – I’m the black sheep and refuse to follow the herd. The placards unroll.
Living near Dunfermline, there can only be one song to uplift and motivate someone to face an obstacle such as this 24-year-old Bruichladdich. Bottled at 53.3% strength and comprising of a trio of ex-bourbon hogsheads vatted, resulting in an outturn of 588 bottles. Priced at £84, this would have been originally distilled just prior to the Whyte & Mackay takeover. Immediately the corporate giant decided that Bruichladdich was surplus to requirements and shut the distillery down towards the end of 1993. The rest as they say is very much history and has passed into whisky legend. Ahoy! Ahoy! Deceived and then punctured.
The Skids and their classic rallying call Into The Valley reaches its climax and now I feel ready. Time for the audit, the gathering trial, a collector’s dilemma, repositioned and filed.
Colour: brushed copper
Nose: malty with a mix of sawdust and honeycomb. There’s a slight meaty aspect to it as well but the dominate aspect is a creamy vanilla with a char from the cask. Jacobs crackers and oddly a sweet cinnamon moving into an Australian eucalyptus oil. With water toffee is noticeable and a floral note.