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Whisky Reviews

Bruichladdich Rock'ndaal 02.1 & Port Charlotte Rock'ndaal 02.2

 

 

This pair of bottlings are for Bruichladdich Distillery’s annual festival day “Rock’ndaal” – which happens during the Fèis Ìle celebration week when all eyes in the whisky world fall on Islay, and its distilleries welcome close to 10,000 screaming visitors for a week-long festival where single malt and music is enjoyed.

On Rock'ndaal Day, Bruichladdich Distillery’s courtyard is also transformed into a festival site, with live music, food stalls, whisky tastings, and distillery tours available.

 

Snaps from Fèis Ìle 2019. Incredibly, children are invited.

  

The highlight is of course the release of the coveted limited edition festival bottlings bearing the festival name “Rock'ndaal”. Thanks to our good friends at The Single Cask Singapore, we got a taste of both peated and unpeated Bruichladdich festival bottlings for 2023.

Bruichladdich Rock'ndaal 02.1 is a 16-year-old unpeated single malt matured in a mix of bourbon and Sauternes wine casks, a fairly classic mix from Bruichladdich given their love for French oak.

The other is the Port Charlotte 02.2, a 16-year-old peated single malt matured in a mix of wine casks and sherry butts – also a fairly classic maturation regime for the PC label.

Bruichladdich Rock’ndaal 02.1, 50% ABV – Review

 

Appearance: Gold.

Nose: Clean and bright with a definitive Scotch character. The aroma transitions from a clean profile to a sweeter, wine-like essence. There's a pronounced thickness of honey, reminiscent of ripe Kyoho grapes without the tartness. White flowers make their presence known, accompanied by spice from pepper and cinnamon. There’s a light touch of citrus and classic Bruichladdich salinity - a distinct note of sea spray and olive brine.

Palate: Sweet, zingy with a nice oily texture. It's zingy and robust, yet not overpowering. The initial heat and spice profile of pepper and anise dissipates fairly quickly, making way for the gentle zest of lime and a fresh sweetness akin to melons, lemon zest and the clear sweetness of lemon sorbet. Caramel and honey is in the midst. The flavours meld together seamlessly, creating a well-integrated experience.

Finish: Quite long-lasting, leaving behind traces of caramel and citrus zest that linger at the back of the throat. A very faint hint of oak can be detected, rounded off with a subtle chalky and mineral note towards the end.

 

 

My Thoughts:

💡 Bright and vibrant, though a little bit hot.

There's a fair bit of heat in this one, but it's unmistakably a classic Scotch with a white wine influence, and a coastal twist that's hard to miss. It's a testament to how pure and clean a Bruichladdich can be, with a commendable freshness and vibrancy.

The oily mouthfeel also does stand out, giving it a rather delightful texture. Though while the influence of the Sauternes cask can be detected, the heat does overshadow some of the more delicate notes.

Port Charlotte Rock’ndaal 02.2, 50% ABV – Review

 

Appearance: Amber.

Nose: Aromatic wood takes the forefront, closely followed by the sweetness of maple syrup. There's a distinct presence of smoked red fruits along with a maritime salinity. The scent of a clean beach bonfire is unmistakable, and the ashy quality is reminiscent of a campfire that's been burning for hours.

Palate: A beautiful combination of rich syrupy sweetness and aromatic smokiness. Sweet ash and honey are immediately noticeable, paving the way for the comforting taste of sticky date pudding. Nuttiness and almonds are present, complemented by the dryness of aromatic oak. Rounded off with the gentler sweet-bitterness of unadulterated Chrysanthemum tea.

Finish: Sweet, ashy, salty and enduring. Fruit flavours, particularly raisins and prunes, become more dominant with a light touch of lingering ashiness, a hint of tobacco and dry oak. Honey adds a layer of sweetness, contrasted by the refreshing touch of mint.

 

 

My Thoughts:

🎻 A sweet and syrupy timeless peaty classic.

It’s difficult to go wrong with a sherried Port Charlotte and this is another lovely variation. It brings to mind the taste of wood-fired barbecue sausages, with its pronounced ashiness and woodiness. But what always stands out is the intense and decadent sweetness, reminiscent of raisin, date pudding, that never seems to get cloying. It's a flavour profile that's hard to resist, and I keep finding myself going back for more.

@CharsiuCharlie