The legendary beast, the one whisky to rule them all, the holy grail of Islay single malts. In this reviewer’s mind anyways. The first experience of this whisky, years back, was a knee-buckling, bar-clutching spell of the vapors followed by an exclamation not well suited for public discourse. It remains among my top 3 whiskies of all time. I could say it’s number 1 and it wouldn’t be a lie but the real truth is that there is a range at the top of the charts where direct comparison and relative ranking of whiskies ceases to make sense. Sometimes different is not better or worse but just different. In any case this was the inaugural release of Bruichladdich’s new line of heavily peated single malts matured in warehouses located in Port Charlotte. The whisky was named in memory of a distillery once located there and named the same as the place, which was closed all the way back in 1929. Supposedly the new spirit was distilled in homage to the original 1881 distillate. It is long sold out save for a few bottles hidden away by savvy store owners which occasionally pop up for a high price and for private bottles surfacing in various whisky auctions here and there.
Nose: Huge wafts of smoke from a roaring fire place stacked with quality walnut, almond and sweet butter logs are caught in an ocean breeze carrying notes of seaweed and salt from afar. There is so much going on it’s hard to even pull out specific details. Just beautiful. (10/10)
Palate: Wow. I always forget just how amazing this is. Huge. Mountainous. A raging tempest that on impact instantly fills the entire head space with everything it has to give. Countless tendrils of delicious smoke from that same fire place swirling around and through me while I eat Austrian plum dumpling dough sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with dark browned butter. This is like sucking nectar from the teats of ancient gods. Big. Really big. Utterly and astonishingly beautiful. Beyond words. The mind can only experience this but not hold onto it. Undoubtedly next time it will be a complete surprise again. (10/10)
Finish: The afterglow cannot possibly keep up with the glorious inferno of the palate but, really, it doesn’t need to. Instead you fall gently into an abyss filled with dense, dark and rich smoke and settle into a deep, relaxed state of peaceful content. Bathing, as it were, in that indescribable delicious, all-permeating peat smoke issuing from near infinite stores of glowing embers. Soaking up a deep heat seemingly radiating from everywhere in the universe. I… am. No thought. (10/10)
Balance: Can perfection have a balance? To talk about balance one would have to be able to distinguish parts of the experience. This is a continuous, almost synesthetic, whole body experience that flows gently or violently but always uninterrupted. How can a liquid be this good? I know instantly that I will once again be unable to recall just how good this is until I return to it at some future point in time. And it will be astonishing and glorious all over. The wheels of life and whisky turn in perfect synchronicity. When I die please soak me in this stuff and then burn me. (10/10)