Bruichladdich 1989, Carmel Wine Cask Finish, 46% ABV
Since my Paul John tasting made me think of Bruichladdich, I thought it would be fun to visit one from my whisky cabinet. I decided on a limited release Bruichladdich 1989 that was aged 18 years in oak and then finished in a Carmel wine cask. I know that it will not have a similar peat profile, so it is not really a comparison to my prior tasting. For that, I would be wiser to turn to one of Bruichladdich’s Port Charlotte offerings. A tasting note for another day.
On the nose, my first impression is dark chocolate. As I explore it more, there are floral and possibly toffee elements. On first sip, I get a strong spice and clove rush, with a tease of peat. In mid-palate I find pepper and heat. The maturity of this whisky brings a smoothness to the overall impression. The finish is medium-to-long, and I find a little peat-infused-sweetness, like a saltwater taffy, that emerges as the pepper heat subsides.
I am a bit unsure about this whisky. To my taste preferences, the balance seems a bit off, where the mix of sweet and spicy somehow translate into dominant clove-like elements. It does not give a complexity of flavor profiles that I prefer – more one-note that I would expect from a whisky bottled with this age profile.