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Bruichladdich is fast becoming one of my favourite distilleries. I've liked everything I've tried and the quality is evident as soon as you open the bottle. They do things the 'right way', pride themselves on quality, offer a good range of styles and are one of the most transparent distilleries you'll find. OK, let's off set that by stating that their prices are a little higher than average and the packaging/marketing is a little over the top. But, and it's a big but, I feel they get away with it as they are one of very few distilleries where they hype actually matches what's in the bottle.
This bottle has been open a few weeks and just below the neck line; review is with about a quarter of tsp of water to a 30ml pour.
Nose - Quite white grape and winey at the start then the salt edges to the fore and sets up camp. This is very coastal with a big brine back bone. You'd be forgiven for thinking there was peat in here but I'm putting it down to some barrel char and a heavy saline tang. There's sourness in the form of barley sugars, more soft white and red fruit notes (think pineapple, nectarine and a variety of grapes). Some soft fudge and toffee appears with vanilla and ginger (raw and powdered), damp wood and a definite herbal note - mint perhaps or eucalyptus. Clean and fresh!
Taste - Sweet arrival (those fruits again) then goes more sour (citrusy - juice and a touch of bitter pith) with the herbal notes (mint) coming in. The development is all about the salty notes with a very mild bitterness - this doesn't seem like it's from the cask though so I'd bet the grain.
Finish - Medium length with a very soft wood influence. Some mildest of the mild tannins with a lingering salty, sweet (grape again) presence. Not the longest but crisp and well defined.
I'm getting a lot of wine influence here and it states it's from bourbon, sherry and French wine casks. Maybe that's influenced my perception but even if so it still has a distinct type of sweetness that is extremely grape like (quite unusual actually - for me anyways) This whisky has a bit of everything, except peat, but even so it comes across as one the most intense and flavourful whiskys I've had. It's certainly a contender for my most enjoyed non-peated Scotch!
I can't decide if the fact that this bottle is limited and therefore never to touch my lips again once drank is something to bemoan or celebrate - I'm leaning to the latter because should they keep this level of quality up I'm confident they could come up with something different but equally, if not more, enjoyable!