Bruichladdich 2003-2018, Syrah Cask, 63.3% – Valinch 33

Last year on April 5th I would have sworn I’d never buy a Bruichladdich wine cask ever again. I’ve had some in the past and they were pretty shit. Then, in the week after I went to Islay and we stopped at the distillery. There was a wine cask available as their Distillery Only bottling.

I tried it, loved it and bought it. Then I started doubting myself. Was this only good because I was at the distillery? Was this only cool because we more or less had to wring out the cask to get the four bottles we wanted (one each)?

Because of that, I opened it fairly quickly after returning home, and boy! This is a cracking dram! It’s weird, it’s out of balance, and it doesn’t make any sense at all, but it is bloody delicious.

Loads of rancio, old wine casks, soaked dirt and dunnage warehouse. Lots of heavy fruitiness with dates and plums. Pot pourri, a certain perfumy hint.

Thick and syrupy at first, but it grows exponentially into a massive belter of a whisky. Immense woodiness, lots of dried fruit, plums, dates, figs. Wine casks, wine stone. Very dry after a while, and cracked leather.

The finish leaves your mouth hot and dry while it warms your inside. Lots of juicy dried fruits, lots of wood and even big notes of dark chocolate.

There is so much happening and on paper it doesn’t really read like it would be a good one. But, after finishing the bottle, everyone who had a sip agreed with me. This is a cracker. The combination of the core of fruit with all the other notes as bells and whistles makes sense, somehow. An absolute belter at 63.3% which you taste. It’s not gentle at all.

I’d almost buy another at 200 euros. Almost.


Bruichladdich 14yo, 2003-2018, Syrah Cask 1543, 63.3%, Laddie Crew Valinch 33 – Jenna McEachern

Only available through the secondary market as we emptied the cask, for 195.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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