SMWS 23.74 Punchy, wacky ashy,

Posted 15 June 2018 by Matt / In Bruichladdich
The Dramble's review of SMWS 23.74 Punchy, wacky, ashy!

Bottle Name: 23.74 Punchy, wacky, ashy

ABV: 62.8%
Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Flavour Profile: Oily & coastal
Region: Islay

We’ve not seen any Society Bruichladdich bottlings for quite some time (the last being 23.73 ‘The vital spark’s engine room’ which was released back in 2013). This new bottling was distilled in September of 2005 and spent 12 years maturing in a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel. Oily & Coastal profile.

Nose: One person’s wacky is another interesting – take your pick – but this is indeed unusual. Freshly-made lemonade, grapefruit and apricots are greeted by coal ash, chalk dust, cabbage and a combination of farmyard and hard cheese. Yep, this is a little ‘out there’. Caster sugar and chocolate bind everything together with just the right amount of sweetness. In the background, a sense of meatiness – ham slices, alongside some coastal minerality. Water adds a biscuity aromas as well as some chopped almonds. This one has got a bit of everything. Odd it is. Work it does.

Taste: Somewhat more mainstream now with sugar coated limes, almond pralines and oatmeal joined by pineapple, stone fruits and gingernut biscuits. Chocolate again providing a grounding across the whisky, but is tempered by an underlying steeliness – mineral dust and salt crystals. The addition of water proves to be the great leveller – red apples and heat softened peaches alongside baking spices and particularly anise.

Finish: Medium in length with earthiness and, because we’ve not had enough diverse flavours as yet, let’s throw in some eucalyptus oil.

The label for this Bruichladdich describes it as ‘…something a little different’. That is perhaps an understatement as the aroma and flavour selection is all over the place. However, to my taste, this is both fascinating and functional – there are outliers, but largely the combinations work and make for a truly complex and discussion-worthy whisky. Bruichladdich has a small army of fans and as we’ve not seen a Society bottling 23 for quite some time this is bound to sell quickly – so if you’re in the market for a bottle you probably should move quickly.

Score: 87/100

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