With only a few exceptions, I like wine cask finishes and am usually intrigued by them. The evening I tasted this dram, I also tasted a Caol Ila matured in a Banyules wine cask, that I found not to my liking. Having mentioned that on social media, I seem to have somehow offended the wonderful people at the shop that bottled the whisky. My opinions on whisky are, of course, subjectively mine, but in my writing on whisky there’s nothing personal. My opinion on the liquid has nothing to do with the name on the label. If I like it, I’ll say it, and if not, I’ll say that too. Never was the ancient saying de gustibus non est disputandum more relevant than in this highly emotional world of whisky we so love.
And now to the whisky at hand:
Bottle your own, or a distillery exclusive bottling, is a great way for distilleries to not only make money, but also to reward those who made the way to the distillery. As Bruichladdich puts it:
These are the DIY bottlings available exclusively to visitors to the distillery. A valinch, possibly from a Spanish term, is the name applied to a large, copper pipette used to take cask samples from whisky barrels. Our view is if you have made the effort to get here to Islay then you deserve something just a little extra special. Valinchs are by definition only ever at cask strength, from a single barrel, and selected by Jim for individuality. Each Valinch released has it’s own label and title, usually to commemorate a specific event.
I’ll be at Bruichladdich on October 18th, and look forward to seeing what Valinch expression will be offered…
Port Charlotte Cuan-Àrd Valinch 06, Grenache Blanc Cask 1615, Distilled 12.10.2005 (58.6% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Bronze, with thin legs and a lot of residual droplets.
Nose: Malt and some wine dryness. Mild sourness, dried fruit and distant wood smoke. Like sour candy and a note of ash. Also some berries, more on the sour side of red fruit. Despite the ABV,
Palate: Thick, sweet, peaty and ashy. Spice comes through, then sweetness again. Definitely good, with some dryness.
Linger: Spice high in the throat, long sweetness on tongue, the ashy sweetness you’d associate with Ardbeg.
This is an excellent example of a very well made wine matured whisky. The peat works really well with the wine, which is something I’d more readily associate with red wines, but you can’t argue with success.