The wonderful joy of whisky is that there’s always a dram out there for everyone. In fact that’s not the joy of whisky, the joy is finding your dream dram (say that 10 times without tripping up!). I’m of course still on that hunt, and on my way I came across this little gem. I’m a bit like an old record I think, I love going back to those cask strength beauties, especially those that you can’t typically buy.
Briuchladdich is probably the most prolific whisky distillery in the northern hemisphere – last year 22 expressions of the malt were released, thanks to the experimental (some might say just mental) efforts of Production Director Jim McEwan. This is one of those, distilled in 1989 and bottled in 2005.
Ok, so I’ve mentioned before the top five, which of course is a changeable list. Now, I’m going to talk about one of my top six. That’s right, six, because sometimes it’s not enough to limit the list to five – it’ll probably be up to seven before long. Highland Park 12 yr old, single cask and bottled exclusively for Oddbins in 2007. There were only 661 bottles produced – that’s why I’ve got two.
Sometimes you come across a whisky that grabs you by the lapels, shakes you about, and slaps you in the face until you’re a little delirious and dribbling in the corner; but you don’t mind because you’ve found a dram that will some beating to be knocked out of your top five (it’s pretty hard to have an all time forever-and-ever favourite, I’ve still not found mine).
The great thing about cask strength whisky is that it gives you plenty of room for manoeuvre, especially if you’re prepared to take your time over a dram. The second of the Jura Boutique Barrel’s I tried was the Bourbon JO 1995. Bottled at 56.5% it has so much leaping out of the orangey gold liquid nestled at the bottom of the glass.
The Bourbon XU 1999, 55% in strength is boasted as the heavily peated member of the Boutique Barrel collection. Although, for me the term heavily peated means something different as this whisky didn’t give me the expected whack in the face – it was peaty, but nowhere near what I had expected. Despite this it’s a pretty good dram.