As I mentioned in our Kavalan Manzanilla sherry cask review, my overwhelming cheapness resulted in San Francisco to Tokyo tickets that had us flying over Japan 3 hours to Taipei, Taiwan for a layover before returning the 3 hours back to Japan. The extra 9 hours (6 hour flight time and 3 hour layover) made Michael uncharacteristically grumpy. To make the layover a bit more palatable, I dragged him around to the whisky shops around the airport.
Probably a bad idea. We ended up spending around $550 on whisky: a Kavalan Manzanilla and a Bruichladdich 1990/25 Travel Exclusive. The cost pretty much negated the savings from the flights, but at least it made Michael happy.
The 1990/25 is one of the few travel exclusives that still seem worth it. Bruichladdich finished in sherry barrels is hard to find, and a good portion of the 1990/25 was completely finished in sherry. The whisky is the marriage of two paths: 1) Refill American (17 years), French Claret that was a Bordeux Grand Cru casks (5 years), and PX sherry cask (4 years) and path 2) Refill sherry butt (18 years), Oloroso sherry cask (7 years). The stage of maturation of sherry (PX and Oloroso respectively) were from the Bodega of Fernando de Castilla in Jerez. The release is marketed as the result of a collaboration with famed sherry master Jan Pettersen (head of Fernando de Castilla).
We did the tasting side-by-side with the 26 Bruichladdich from Signatory, and I must admit, the official release outranks the Signatory significantly (although that one is also very delicious). The 1990/25 is truly near-perfect.
- Score - 9/109/10
Nose: Very sherry. Plums, prunes, dates. Caramel marmalade, toasted raisins. Salt water. Smells strongly like a scotch rickhouse in the fall. Palate: Rich malt and sherry, raisins, dark chocolate, grape juice, hazelnuts. Loads of honey, toffee, and caramel. Finish: Cereal notes at the end. Long and oaky. Summary Overall: 9/10. Almost perfect. All hail the sherry monster. This is a rich and powerful dessert. Bought for: $350 (I think) in Taiwan Taoyuan Airport
- Aged for 25 years
- ABV: 48.1%
- Cask: Marriage of two paths; one that is bourbon/bordeux/sherry and one of full sherry
- Release: 6,000 bottles
- Bruichladdich was our favorite distillery tour on Islay (read more about our visit here). It is also the largest private employer on Islay (even more than Laphroaig or Lagavulin) due to its reliance on manpower versus machines.
- It is famous for its Octomore line, which is known for having extremely high peat levels – even up to 200 to 300 ppm (its 08.3 has 309 ppm). Its peated Port Charlotte line is 40 ppm.
- Prides itself on being highly experimental and for trying to feature terroir (even releasing a “terroir-ed” gin called Botanist)
- Built in 1881 but mothballed in 2000 – before it was purchased by its fan and aficionado Mark Reynier. Now owned by Remy Cointreau.
- Read our Bruichladdich classic laddie here.