B-sides: Bruichladdich, Ben Nevis, Balvenie & Brora

B is for :

Bruichladdich XVII 17yo [Rum cask] Ob. 46% WB83.15[89] WF84 [WM]80[12]

  • bruichladdich-xviiN: I’ve had this a few times in the past few years and enjoyed it’s malt-rich tropical fruits with a minimal [white] rum influence. Blind, i’d say it’s ‘rum meets the Highlands’.
  • T: The key to the success of this Bruichladdich is the fruit-malt complex held together with a soft
  • F: A sign of good rum is one that compliments added components whilst retaining its own characteristics. The same is true for this rum cask and the filled spirit, although we know this isn’t always/often the case.
  • C: I’ve always been a fan of this bottling. I’m sad to finally see the last bottle go but I’m glad it was shared and enjoyed by Malt ’n’ Copper.

Scores 87 points

B is for : Ben Nevis 1991/2014 23yo SV sherry butt #2913 [798 bts] 46% WB85.13[18] WFx WM??[]

  • ben-nevis-1991N: Oh ok, not decay exactly but it’s certainly displaying oddities, rather like the funky Mortlach 21yo. So, those oddities translate in the main as over-ripe, stewed & sweet-savoury fruits and a stock [cube/Bovril] meatiness with creaking old oak and, well, a raft of homemade ‘stuff’ Ben Nevis seem to have a talent for producing.
  • T: Hmm, not sure. Bit thin, but also with an old-style, deep, sherried oiliness. Unfortunately it’s somewhat flat. Reminds me of some old, tiring armagnacs from tired/neutral casks
  • F: ,… lingering but faint dark fruit skin, oily, murky, mineral hues and old, oaky sherry.
  • N: i do like its ‘old style’ character. and I think the cask gave all it could. Talking of the cask [#2913], I’m wondering [in a geeky pondering kind of way] whether it was previously used for an independent bottling back in 1970. Moon-Import bottled this whisky WB in 1988 meaning the cask would have lay around for a few years waiting to be de-charred/re-charred and re-coopered before going back into service at the same distillery. Very feasible, no?

Scores 80 points

B is for :Balvenie 30yo [2014] 47.3% WB92[8] WF91 WM91[2]

  • balvenie-30N: Perfumed fruits [apricots, apples and plums – proper summer ripe orchard collection] in a [Brora like], sweet floral-honey glaze
  • T: That rich concentration of sweet>bitter is just what id hoped for on the nose. With a big arrival and presentation, we are talking intense fruit sugars, a touch caramelised – somewhere between fruit~to~jam with some syrup-treacle notes also.
  • F: There’s a distinctive spearmint note before the fruits come back coupled with honeyed tannins. Vibrant yet relaxed, medium-long finish
  • C: Let’s not speak of casks and grain balance with this one, this Balvenie has become way more than the sum of its parts.

Scores 91 points

B is for: Brora 1977/2016 38yo ‘15th Special Release’ Ob. [2984 bts] 48.6% WB93.70[12]~WF95 WM??[]

  • brora-38yoN: Not the most complex nose [by Brora’s standards] yet, simply perfect in it’s own right. Dried malty/oily-putty with vibrant [bourbon & sherry?] fruits [and a perfect, consolidated oak complex], immediately put me in that ‘happy place’ kind of perfect.
  • T: Bold, dynamic arrival, starting bitter to sweet to salty, gradually softening to a chewy/textural mouthfeel i haven’t got the words to describe. Without getting into depth about what percentage of sponge to chewy like gum vs soft toffee=fudge it is, lets just say its a sublime, textural treat.
  • F: Develops on dry, salty, malt with another textural shift towards something like dried rubbery-ish fish – without any fish flavour, no fish live ‘ere! The finish overall is long and dreamy with complex nutty, herbal and mineral, earthy notes lurking underside.
  • C: A vibrant and sublime, textural treat. Someone should make more of this stuff?

Scores 93 points

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