Going to the Spirit of Scotland, last March, on the train we drank some drams – as a warm-up, we professionals care about the perfect approach to our passion – together with some friends: Federico, the brave whiskysucks scribbler, let us taste an ex-bourbon Bruichladdich selected by Sukhinder Singh, that is Mr Whisky Exchange, and bottled in his ‘personal’ series soberly called Masterpieces. Travelling at 300 km/h on Italo train, we thought it was very good. Let’s see if now, sit at our desk, we like it as well.
N: despite the monstrous ABV, it is certainly not unapproachable, on the contrary: an impressive vanilla from the barrel dominates the scene, with huge notes of custard. We go so far as to say that perhaps a small piece of pineapple sits on the proverbial fruit pastry. Marshmallows. A very buttery nose, and a nice ripe yellow apple (and here the roads between us and Federico are irreconcilably divided, since he feels the yellow apple is unripe). The barrel takes no prisoners, and those slightly mineral notes from the distillery are almost absent here. With water, it doesn’t change much: it increases the marzipan.
P: the alcohol here is felt more, of course. Consistent with the nose, but surprisingly more varied and more composite. The dominant vanilla here is tempered by a beautiful acidity, which flows widely into the tropical: maracuja, pineapple, coconut, peaches in syrup… Even a lot of mandarin, if we want, and yes, we want. Perhaps even a veil of salt, to complicate the profile. More butter. The water does not affect the structure, but it helps, making it more drinkable, amplifying a bit the fruity side and revealing a little herbaceous note.
F: strange but true, it’s a long and very tropical finish… Instead, these suggestions usually remain alive especially on the palate.
We liked it very much, very much indeed: intense, tropical, very particular with that acidity and butter which, especially on the palate, make the experience really worthy. Maybe it’s relatively ‘simple’ compared to other bottlings, but we simply don’t care: we liked it a lot, so 90/100 (despite the irremediable differences of view on the apple, it’s the same vote as Federico, who we almost forgot to thank for the sample).
Recommended soundtrack: Arctic Monkeys – Red right hand, a cover of a Nick Cave’s classic piece.