The Heretic was the Feis Ile 2018 release from Port Charlotte (from the Bruichladdich Distillery, of course) and is, according to the label ‘the last of the first’, meaning the last casks of the first distillate. It’s a vatting of American oak, rum casks and even French wine casks. I poured it at my Feis Ile tasting. Funny detail: I had totally forgotten that the bottle was signed and personalized by Master Distiller Adam Hannett. So my mildly autistic side was in doubt for about 4 seconds whether or not to open it. Imagine that!
The nose starts a bit weird. Atypical. I get baby breath (you know, the kids just finished his fruit porridge and then burps in your face) and flor (the layer of yeast on sherry during maturation). Then follow famer’s butter, pineapple and lemon, some smoked salmon and a soft trace of peat smoke. Pine cones, pine seeds and even a drop of olive oil. It needs some getting used to, but it grows on you.
On the palate, it is mostly the citrus fruit that captures your attention: lemon, lime and pink grapefruit. The peat kicks in and delivers a grand smokiness. The smoked fish returns, but some sweetness arrives as well in the guise of vanilla and chocolate. Something herbal like lemongrass and ferns. Soft on the spices. It really becomes very good from the second sip on.
The finish is its strength: long, warm, spicy and sweet & sour with a drying effect. The smoke lingers very well. A salt note at the death. Delicious.
So glad we opened this. The nose gave me a bit of a scare, but it recovers quickly to become a grand whisky.