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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Winey Bruichladdich: 21 year old Cuvee 382 La Berenice


Distillery: Bruichladdich
Ownership: Remy Cointreau
Age: minimum 21 years
Bottling year: 2012
First Maturation: ex-bourbon casks
Finish: Limousin oak ex-Sauternes and ex-Barsac sweet wine casks
Product full name: Bruichladdich 21 year old Cuvée 382 La Berenice MG41 L'Age D'Or
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
(Bottle was from an OCSC event, sample poured from mid-bottle two days after opening)

The color is medium gold, much darker than Monday's 19yo Signatory. The nose starts off pretty quirky, with burnt oak, grass and cucumber skin. But after five minutes it changes completely. Lots of toffee, bright white fruit notes and a creamy crème fraîche thing. It's a little on the perfumy side. But there's also a salty beach air note and green grapes. The palate is, er, odder than the nose. It's very sweet and very perfumed. Also bitter, fizzy and acidic. Soapy. A whirlwind of weird. There are some oranges and fresh ginger mixed in. After 20 minutes, it becomes violently sweet. The finish has the acid and the perfume, too. Also golden raisins and bitter almonds.

WITH WATER (~40%abv)
The nose is rich and candied now. Full of toffee pudding and nutty sherry-like notes. It's still grassy in the background. The palate has mellowed out. Still too sweet. Soft and creamy, a little floral and bitter. And soapy. The finish is sweet, soapy, drying and creamy, with orange peel.


Remember when soap didn't smell like anything. When it was just, you know, Soap. White and awful—kind of like Trump, though he's sorta salmon-colored. Soap was just there to strip the world of several layers and not to make it smell like honeydew lavender rosemary.

When I was a kid we had an industrial-sized vat of Soap tucked under the rusty lawnmower blades and spider nests. When it was cleaning time, we'd grab Soap and the dented black iron cabbage-picking bucket that sat behind the broken chainsaw. All you'd need was a small squirt of that white spunk and you'd suddenly have a bucketful of fluffy Soap foam once the hose spray hit it. We needed that nuclear saponification when it was time to scrub the rotten egg crust and horse blood off the west side of my uncle's garbage truck using only the discarded shih tzu heads from the taxidermy dumpster next door.

And that, my dear Mathilda, is why soapy whisky makes Papa Bear sad.

This whisky's nose and palate are from two different dimensions. The nose can almost be called lovely, which more or less screws the fakakta palate because one's expectations are set so high. But the nose is a bit heavy on the perfume, which makes me wonder—between the soap and perfume—if the whisky isn't trying to warn us of something. Like, perhaps a certain Bruichladdich taxidermist was too busy trying to apply Rogue Dior to a stuffed Highland grice to recognize the whole thing belonged in the dumpster.

But it smells nice.

Availability - Many specialty retailers in the US and Europe, four years after its release
Pricing - $130-$180 (w/o VAT & shipping) in Europe, $180-$200 in the US
Rating - 71