Bruichladdich 21yr Cuvee Series
Bruichladdich Master Distiller Jim McEwan is at it again with another exploration into the myriad nuances of cask finishing Scotch Whisky. A genius to some and a mad scientist to others, Mr. McEwan is well known for thinking outside of the box and breaking from tradition to truly explore the boundaries of Scotch Whisky. This time, he has released 3 unique whiskies in what is known as the Bruichladdich Cuvee Series. Each whisky has been primarily matured in American Oak before receiving a cask finish in Sauternes/Barsac, Pedro Ximenez or Cognac casks.
While cask finishing is a common technique in Scotland, rarely is it used on whiskies so old. Especially not in a trio of releases. Because of that, there are VERY few bottles to go around. While I don’t know how many were produced in total, I do know that there were only 30 bottles of each that managed their way into the Pacific Northwest (Including Alaska and Montana!). Luckily, we here at Wine World and Spirits managed to get a few of each. If you’d like to try some of these very rare offerings, come check them out now before they’re gone forever.
Cuvee 382: La Berenice (Sauternes/Barsac Cask) $249.95
This American-oak-aged Bruichladdich has been further matured in casks that previously contained the lush sweet white wines of two of the greatest chateaux of Barsac and Sauternes. Casks that have held wine from grapes grown to honeyed intensity from some of the most blessed plots of Bordeaux now meet classic Bruichladdich spirit that has slumbered in our dank, dark loch-side warehouses for two decades. Elegant vanilla from the white oak, the honeyed fruit of the wine, the toasted malt of the barley, the floral elegance of the spirit produced by our long-necked Victorian stills and the fresh tang of salt laden Atlantic winds here produce a sensuous, decadent and flirtatious whisky, with more than a hint of forbidden fruit.
Cuvee 407: PX (Pedro Ximenez Sherry Cask) $249.95
This Cuvee 407 has been further matured in rare Jerez butts that for decades held unctuous and ultra-rich sherry, made from the Moorish Pedro Ximenez grape. Once harvested, the grapes are shriveled to a raisin-like state under the baking sun of Andalucia to concentrate the sugars, resulting in a sweet wine of legendary viscosity and intensity.
For centuries, PX casks have been revered by whisky distillers for the Madeira cake richness they bring to maturing spirit; and our casks, extracted from the Fernando de Castilla Solera, are of the very highest provenance. This Bruichladdich Cuvee 407 is an indulgent, licentious whisky, a whisky for when the air is redolent of old leather, Cuban tobacco and cedarwood. A whisky to lose oneself in – an indulgent dream of a dram.
Cuvee 640: Eroica (Cognac Cask) $249.95
Cuvee 640 has been further matured in Limousin oak casks from Aquitaine that for many years contained one of the great eaux de vie. These casks tannins have added new layers of rich complexity to our own elegant, floral Bruichladdich. This is a spirit to give pause, to reflect on. A spirit as much for the mind as for the palate.
This profound, challenging whisky jealously guards its secrets from the uninitiated, but to those with patience and curiosity it reveals layer upon layer of subtle nuance, from Turkish Delight and wild strawberry, to darker notes of dark chocolate orange and espresso. To be enjoyed at the end of a great meal or a great day, alone or with a small cadre of like-minded Argonauts.
Post by John Slangle, our Spirits Enthusiast