Whisky Review: Bruichladdich 24 Years Old Valinch 7 Andy Ritchie (Laddie Crew)

Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Bruichladdich Distillery

Bottling: Hand-fill Distillery Only

ABV: 51.4%

Cost: £100

bruichladdich-valinch-7-andy-ritchie

What they say:

Launched not long after Feis Ile 2014, infact, I remember the crew wheeling the cask in and getting it ready a few days after the Feis.
Handfilled by the Craig (editor) when he visited Islay earlier in August.

It’s another fantastic chance to have a bit of fun and bottle your own Bruichladdich, much like Bowmore do.
The Bruichladdich range is called ‘Valinch’ and this is the Laddie Crew Valinch 07 – Andy Ritchie – Bottling Hall Operator.
Cask numbers R05/135-019 / 1989

Aged for 24 Years in total.
The Bruichladdich assistant in the shop said that the enhancement in the Rioja Wine Cask was for 9 Years, (that’s possibly taken with a pinch of salt), 9 months may be more realistic.
However – you can really get the Rioja coming through – especially on the finish – I got a lovely dram of this when in the shop.

Distilled 1989 and bottled August 2014 – at Cask Strength 51.4%.

What I say:

Dramvent Calender Day 17

This December I am attempting to sample and review a whisky everyday for the 24 days of Advent in the run up to Christmas. My very basic criteria as I sorted through my masses of whisky and samples were these:

  1. Single malt scotch only and should be (or have been) generally/easily available
  2. Each day must be from a different distillery
  3. Each day must be equivalent in age or older than the previous

Distilled at Bruichladdich on Islay, this whisky has spent 24 years maturing and was bottled in August 2014 so was probably distilled in 1990. It spent a short time (~ 9 months) being enhanced (finished) in an ex-Rioja red wine casks. Being quite a fan of Rioja I’ve often wondered why their aren’t more Rioja cask finished whiskies around. The 2 I have stumbled across in quick succession are both from Bruichladdich and I did hear mention once about these casks being either tricky to use (i.e. overpowering of perhaps odd characteristics coming from them) or equally hard to get hols of? I guess the real reasons remains a mystery to me!

Colour:

Old Sauternes, light ruby/amber gold (12/20), oily tears leave medium to fine legs

Nose:

Candyfloss sweetness backed by deeper resonances of red fruits and a little mulling spices. Heather honey and tanned leather, plum, strawberry and raspberry ice cream, vanilla, strawberry syrup

Taste:

The palate opens with candyfloss sweetness, perhaps more strawberry syrup too, a tannic spice builds with cinnamon, white pepper, and cloves and malty cereal barley adds backbone to this medium-bodied dram, some tannic tea, sour black cherry sherbet and red grapes, syrupy and sugary, slightly musty old oak staves stand drying in preparation for a fire, mulled wine and red port wine mix with fruity punch giving this a real festive party atmosphere

Finish:

Long, sweet and spiced, drying tannic oak still with a hint of strawberry-flavoured candyfloss

Overall:

A delicious dram in which the Rioja cask has added some marvellous attributes, I really like this Valinch from Bruichladdich and have high hopes for the other Rioja cask Laddie currently sitting in my inbox too!

Score: 89/100

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