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Monday, November 28, 2022

Bruichladdich 16 year old 2005, cask 0977 for Feis Ile 2022

Last week's Bruichladdichs turned out to be a mixed bag, which shouldn't have come as a surprise to me since the distillery's contemporary unpeated malts don't offer consistency. This week I'm going a completely different direction. First, one recent monstrous single cask, then two considerably older releases.

Though I'm not a member of Friends of Bruichladdich, one of the FOBs did split up his bottle of the single cask bottled by the distillery for the group for this year's Feis Ile event. Many of Bruichladdich's Valinch-style releases weigh in at fearsome ABVs, and this one is no different, burning in at 63.8%. There will be water.

Distillery: Bruichladdich
Expression: Bruichladdich
Ownership: Remy Cointreau
Region: Western Islay
Age: 16 years (18 July 2005 - 31 May 2022)
Maturation: "SC", I was told it was Sauternes but I think it's sherry
Cask #: 0977
Exclusive to: Friends of Bruchladdich
Alcohol by Volume: 63.8%
(from a bottle split)


Meaty, leathery, and gunpowder-y sulfur hits the nose first. Somewhere beneath that cloud are black raisins, brown sugar, pecans, roses and brine. There's even more sulfur in the palate, mostly of the gunpowder sort, which is too bad because all the other characteristics — like lemons, honey, salt, and bitter herbs — struggle to be found. It finishes savory and salty (mostly due to sulfur), and slightly tangy.

DILUTED to ~50%abv, or >1½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Ah, the nose is much cleaner now. Oranges and lemons meet mint leaf, basil leaf and rose petals. The palate is still quite hot, though the sulfur has receded, which allows the sweet raspberries, tart limes and wood spices to be heard/tasted. It's tangy, salty and peppery on the finish.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or >2¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Raspberries, dark chocolate, lemons and saline fill the nose, as the sulfur turns peppery. The palate has gone vague. It's savory, sweet, tangy and tart, somewhat balanced, but also somewhat of a blob. The finish hasn't changed much, still tangy, salty and peppery.


As noted on the sample label, the bottle's owner thought this was a Sauternes cask. But I'm guessing it was actually a sherry cask. The distillery's "SC" description doesn't help matters. No matter what, this whisky was a big hot sulfur puddle when neat. Dilution scrubs it up a bit, though the palate never really takes off, already getting blurry at 46%. My troubles with ultra-high ABV single malts and unpeated Bruichladdich continue.

Meanwhile, bottle owners over at Whiskybase are wild about this stuff, though these guys are less thrilled. Can't wait until the sulfur-phobes weigh in!

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - originally £75
Rating - 78 (with dilution)

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