Whilst dumpier than a standard sherry butt, a puncheon holds a similar volume of liquid. This Bruichladdich has spent 16 years maturing inside of one. Despite that, it’s maintained a high ABV of 61.2%. 372 bottles have been produced by Claxton’s clocking in at £134.99 a piece.
Nose: Very sherried – but still quite spry – reduced red berries (strawberries and cranberries), stewed plums, orange liqueur and leather bound books. In the background – perfume aromas – rosehips and potpourri alongside a touch of cask char and farmyard. Very expressive and quite heady. The addition of water considerably softens the impact (which you may or may not want to do). It adds golden syrup, honeycomb, hedgerow berries and sappy tree bark.
Taste: Punchy and rich. Toffee and chocolate sauces alongside plenty of ground cinnamon and ginger spicing and a sprinkle of cloves. The mid-palate delivers more fruitiness – pears and orange peels and adds in some charred cask ends, farmyard lactate and pepperiness. Dilution easily tames the arrival, but the underlying power returns with full force in the mid to back palate – still animated, still quite dramatic, but now with some dustiness and chalk.
Finish: Very long and slightly astringent with burnt caramel and over-reduced pan sugars and old tobacco.
Full steam ahead! This high ABV Bruichladdich is rather “take no prisoners”. It’s rather bombastic, but just about manages to maintain some of the natural spirit character behind a wall of sweet and spicy sherry spice. That said, Bruichladdich’s lactic nature can be divisive and there’s plenty of it here – very big sherry, but not necessarily one for all sherry lovers.
Review sample provided by Claxtons
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