Bruichladdich is one of the leading experimenters when it comes to cask finishes and wine casks in particular. I must admit that I’m generally not a fan, so I was slightly wary when I read this Bruichladdich 2005 bottled by Claxton’s was fully matured in a Rioja wine cask.
Bruichladdich 11 yo 2005 (57,2%, Claxton’s 2016, Rioja wine cask #1605-1052, 320 btl.)
Nose: no need to stick your nose into the glass, really, the red berries and wine gums will come right at you. Prunes. Hints of Spanish PX-matured brandy. After that, it turns towards tobacco notes, wet earth and a bunch of farmy notes. Sheep stables, horses… reminding me of the beloved Cooleys from Cadenhead’s in a way. Hints of spent matches as well, sounds worrying but it’s part of this profile. I like it a lot and I haven’t found these unique notes in new whisky in years. And always with these juicy forest fruits.
Mouth: even less classic now, and less convincing I would say. Very spicy / peppery with a slight tannic edge. Lots of roasted notes, including the austerity of cranberries. Still a bit of smoke. Fruit piths. Black cherries.
Finish: long, smoky and herbal, with plenty of liquorice, almost like a cough syrup.
I was pleasantly surprised by the nose on this. Extreme but not unbalanced, with some intriguing touches. That said, it isn’t able to find the same balance on the palate, becoming a bit overpowering for this pussy of a reviewer. Difficult to score. Nonetheless a must-try if you have the chance.