Thursday, 20 February 2014

Islay Single Malt Whisky in a Bordeaux First Growth barrel?



I recently completed "dry January". I didn't do it to be some kind of martyr or raise money for any noble cause, I just figured that my liver (and my wallet) could do with a break once a year! Now, when you're a bit of a booze hound (which I'm guessing you are if you're reading this blog) and have spent a month away from the good stuff, you tend to find yourself putting a great deal of thought into what you are going to choose for your dramatic dismount from the wagon. It was going to need to be something spectacular, something that I could savour, something special. Fortunately I had just such a bottle stashed away in my drinks cabinet...

The bottle in question was a Bruichladdich (pronounced Brook-laddy) 16 year Islay whisky aged in barrels from Chateau Margaux. This bottle was given to me as a present by my siblings for my 30th birthday last year and I'd been looking for a suitably auspicious occasion to crack into it. Bruichladdich is a distillery from Islay of extremely high repute and they have an extremely large range of whiskies in their collection. One of the things that they seem to experiment with a lot is using different casks to age their whiskies, in order to impart unique flavours. A perfect example of this was their First Growth series where Bruichladdich put out a series of whiskies which had all been aged for 16 years in oak barrels that they had obtained from First Growth vineyards.

My particular whisky came from Margaux. Now, I would love to tell you at this point that I have extensive knowledge or tasting experience of Premier Grand Cru Classe wines from Margaux and therefore could make some direct comparisons here, however that would be a big, fat, stinking lie. One day I will try those wines; I just need that lottery win to come in... In the meantime, however, I could taste the whisky - which I certainly did.

It had a beautifully gentle golden hue to it. On the nose it smelt soft and gentle, a touch of sea spray with a slightly perfumed aroma and a hint of soft fruits. On the palate it was gorgeously warming, with a creamy texture and a very long and pervasive finish (we're talking well over 45 seconds here). This wasn't a whisky that I felt absolutely needed some water adding to it, but I found that a couple of drops just softened it nicely and allowed it to open up.

As a special occasion whisky this was exactly what I was looking for. What better way to get back into the booze then by combining two of my great drink based loves? Fine wine and top quality whisky...

Now, I just need to convince my siblings to buy me the Pauillac, Sauternes, Pomerol and Pessac-Leognan...

Note - Unfortunately, it seems that this whisky is very difficult to get hold of now. About the only place that I seem able to find it is Vinus Vinis and they say that they have very limited stocks left, so if you are looking to buy one I'd move fast...      

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