“Friends of Bruichladdich” 11 Year Old Single Cask

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It’s been a funny old year. So many of the things we take for granted as whisky lovers have disappeared… Distillery tours, festivals, tastings. Even pubs. Never before have we needed the virtual community quite as much as we do now and for all its faults, social media has really come into its own over the last 12 months, allowing us all to stay connected whilst being forced apart.

Facebook has always been my preferred platform where social media is concerned and I still think it’s the easiest way to find and interact with people who share your interests. A big part of that is the “groups” function which has led to the creation of a whole host of small communities popping up to celebrate their love of whisky or in some cases, a particular distillery.

Friends of Bruichladdich is easily one of the most successful examples of this, with more than 8,000 members and dozens of posts every day from people keen to share their love of the “Progressive Hebridean Distillers”. Such is the enthusiasm of the group, the community has even clubbed together on occasion and under the guidance of Derek Mather and John McDougall, bought casks in order to produce exclusive bottlings for group members.

I’ve never really been one for declaring favourites, but Bruichladdich is certainly a distillery I hold close to my heart. I’ve been made to feel more welcome there than at any other distillery and their whisky is consistently of excellent quality. So whilst I’m nowhere near the diehard status of many in the F.O.B. group, I don’t like turning down the opportunity to grab a bottle of ‘Laddie too often. Especially when it comes from such an interesting cask.

This is the third bottling for the Friends of Bruichladdich Group (you can read my review of the first here). It was matured for 11 years in an Israeli Cabernet Sauvignon wine cask before being bottled at a hefty 63% and being made available to group members for £115.

Smell: Forest fruits – raspberry, blackberry and strawberry. Cinnamon and nutmeg. Toffee. Honey. Caramel. Wee touch of sulphur and some coastal ozone.

Taste: Slight struck match note. Fiery pepper. Cinnamon. Raspberry. Blackcurrant. Orange. Ginger. Honey. Dry oak, dark chocolate and sultanas on the finish.

Value for money: Whilst Bruichladdich is almost always of high quality, it does sadly come at something of a premium but on occasions like this, when a group comes together to not only buy a cask but also pay for bottling and labelling and whatnot, I don’t mind the higher costs involved. It also happens to be a fascinating dram that I’m finding needs quite a generous splash of water to really shine. In fact it becomes quite spectacular once that sweet spot has been found.

Score: 91

I confess I didn’t love this one at first and as someone who normally likes whisky big and bold, it felt strange adding so much water to it. With each drop it seemed to improve however and after what must have been around three teaspoons worth, I found myself not just enjoying the dram but exclaiming loudly just how good it had become, much to my wife’s dismay. A complicated whisky that can be experienced differently depending on how much water you add. Like a journey in a glass. Great stuff.

For more on Bruichladdich, visit here

Visit the Friends of Bruichladdich Facebook Group here.

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