Today I have three very special and unique drams for you. They totally fall under the category once in a lifetime and I am very very happy and proud that I got these three samples from Bruichladdich (special thanks to the Brand Ambassador Ewald!) at the Finest Spirits Festival 2018 in Munich. Before you start ranting, I get it. They are insanely expensive (~ 800€ a bottle) and you won’t get them easy anywhere. So why bother?

Well, I can speak only for myself but I like the opportunity to taste a Whisky which is nearly as old as I am. And I’d like to quote Adam Hannett as well (taken from their brochure which you can download here): “They are in their prime, the last of their kind and can never be repeated, never recreated. Nothing quite like them will ever be seen again.”

Of course, there will be other good and even excellent Whiskys in the future. But not from the 80s, unfortunately, Ewald told me these were the last casks from this period of the 1900s. So no 1983 vintage will be (or for that matter: can be) released in the future. Too bad, but 1984, 1985 and 1986 are quite close to my year of birth. But it really doesn’t matter, I probably wouldn’t have bought it anyway. But tasted 😉

Bruichladdich 1984 / 32
Bourbon: all in

This is the first dram, nearly as old as I am. It’s made from the last 12 casks of 1984, which were distilled on December 31st! In 2008 they were recasked into 1st fill Bourbon Barrels.

Distillery: Bruichladdich1984/32 Rare Cask Series
Age: 32yo
Cask: refill Bourbon Barrels & Hogsheads
Alcohol: 43,7%
Colour: amber
Info: n.c.a., n.c.f., cask strength

Nose: Lemon and some pineapple. Some honey and malted barley. Also vanilla and just a hint of oak wood.

Palate: Toffee and some pepper, very velvet, also vanilla and oak wood but very well balanced. Some kind of tropical fruit, maybe orange or something along these lines.

Finish: Quite long, also warming but not too much.

Overall: A fine dram, well balanced and refreshing. No peat of course, but it doesn’t always have to be peated, right? Also, after these years you probably wouldn’t have left any peat. Solid 80 points from me, as it is a very good dram, well balanced without any edges and notches.

My rating: 20/20/20/20 = 80 out of 100.

Bruichladdich 1985 / 32
Bourbon: hidden glory

This is the second dram, also nearly as old as I am. As his brother the 1984/32, the Whisky was recasked in 1st fill Bourbon Barrels in 2012 and in 2017  into french oak.

Distillery: Bruichladdich1985/32 Rare Cask Series
Age: 32yo
Cask: 3rd fill Bourbon casks
Alcohol: 48,7%
Colour: darkish amber
Info: n.c.a., n.c.f., cask strength

Nose: Fresh, some oak wood, but also barley, some leather and tropical fruits (orange, lemon).

Palate: Sweet from malted barley, also something spicy (maybe pepper or ginger) also tropical fruits, but more in the direction of coconut (but also lemon).

Finish: Warming and tingling.

Overall: Well, we’re getting better. I think the finishing in wine casks was a good idea. It just adds some fruity flavour to the sweet (from Bourbon casks infused) flavour. This dram is also without peat and any edges, very well composed.

My rating: 22/22/22/21 = 87 out of 100.

Bruichladdich 1986 / 30
Sherry: The magnificent seven

This dram is not as old as I am, but still old (for a Whisky). And not only the name, but also the colour gives it away, this Whisky had been aged in some kind of Sherry cask. After a whopping 26 years in Oloroso casks, the Whisky was recasked into – guess what – PX Butts. That’s a peat – no, wait – SHERRY monster!

Distillery: Bruichladdich1986/30 Rare Cask Series
Age: 30yo
Cask: 1st fill Oloroso Butts
Alcohol: 44,6%
Colour: mahogany
Info: n.c.a., n.c.f., cask strength

Nose: Yap, there’s the typical sherry flavour. Spicy, chocolate, little bit nutty, also sweetness from Toffee and some lemon and leather.

Palate: Oh boy, here we go! Sweet from chocolate and (dried) fruits (raises, maybe dates), also some spices (ginger?), but still velvet and – astonishing – not dry, at least not as much as you might expect after 30 years in Sherry casks.

Finish: Warming, quite long.

Overall: Yes, that’s a Sherry bomb. With everything you imagine. On the other hand, if you don’t like that kind of Whisky, well then you are not going to enjoy this dram. But thankfully I’m such a sucker for Sherry cask matured Whisky. Really, I am. So this score is probably the most biased of all the Whiskys in this article. But what should I do? Not enjoy it? NO WAY IN HELL…

My rating: 23/23/23/22 = 91 out of 100.

I guess most of these bottles will settle dust upon them, as many who can and will afford them are probably not going to taste them. I personally think that’s a shame, as I believe Whisky was made to be drunk and enjoyed (okay, you might say just looking at them is also enjoying, I give you that!). What do you think? Should Whisky be drunk or just kept for other purposes? Looking forward to your opinion, until next time, all the best and

One thought on “Bruichladdich Rare Cask Series [Tasting]

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