This Bruichladdich 2006 has been matured for six years in a first fill sherry hogshead and then re-racked in to a first fill bourbon barrel for an additional four years of maturation. This is somewhat unusual as it is more common to use bourbon casks initially and then transfer over for additional sherry influence and/or finishing.
The bottle lists cask number 506, thought whether that refers to the sherry or the bourbon cask remains unclear. It’s non chill-filtered, naturally coloured and bottled at 54.8% ABV.
Nose: A touch shy initially, but a little rest improves things. Cherries and apricots make for an interesting fruity combination. These are joined by pronounced leather, raisins and spent coffee grounds. There’s some nuttiness here, which merges in to what I can only describe as brackish water….almost duck pond like.
Taste: A full bodied and slightly oily arrival which provides a really big note of diet cola. Quite a lot of tartness and bitterness in the form of sour cherries and heavy wood presence. After some resting a lovely chocolate undertone and some soily dunnage and earthy mushroom flavours develop. There’s undoubtedly some phosphorus-esque quality here, though I don’t find it unpleasant. A nice herbalness pervades the whole experience, somewhere between straight mint and eucalyptus.
Finish: Short with pleasant astringency and a fair whack of cask spicing in the form of black pepper.
This is not your typical sherried whisky profile – in fact, the sherry followed by bourbon maturation has led to the creation of a rather interesting concoction. The nose is a little too restrained for my liking, but the palate presents some really interesting flavours that are both unusual and work together quite well for my palate. This said, others have found these notes to be jarring and a little too volcanic for their tastes. This is one of those bottlings which quite clearly demonstrates that everyone has a different palate and varying tastes - and there's nothing wrong with that.