Bruichladdich is a fan of Rivesaltes casks. In their spec sheets you will often stumble accross VDN casks or Vin Doux Naturel. The same type of cask is now used at Waterford by the way.
Rivesaltes is a naturally sweet (“mutated”) fortified wine made in the French Rousillon region (near the Pyrénées). It’s somewhat similar to a Muscat de Rivesaltes but made primarily from Grenache rather than Muscat grapes.
Bruichladdich 9 yo 2010 (64,2%, Artful Dodger 2020, Rivesaltes cask #R18/324, 371 btl.)
Nose: if you’re familiar with recent official Port Charlotte releases, you’ll recognize this profile – it’s clearly the same DNA but without the peat of course. It’s rich and raisiny but with a punchy oaky side and some farmy notes. Tobacco and Mon Chéri. Red berries, plum sauce, poached pears, some cinnamon and pepper. Burnt sugar. The wine is very much on top of the spirit, but it’s not unbalanced.
Mouth: oily but also quite dark and meaty now, with a leathery dryness and forest fruits. Chewy blackberries and cassis jam. Also charred oak, Turkish coffee and big hints of roasted nuts. Cinnamon, black pepper and nutmeg. Winey and chocolatey, it’s very thick with everything dialed up to eleven.
Finish: long, leathery, with spicy wood and tart berries.
This is certainly definitely a flavour bomb. We know it works well with Port Charlotte peat, but even without peat this has heaps of character. Winey, so maybe not for everyone, but I like it. Available from Artful Dodger direct or Master of Malt for instance.