I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard of Independent bottlers Fishermans Retreat until a review of one of their previous releases was written by Thijs Klaverstijn on his Words of Whisky blog and peaked my interest. Thijs himself admits to not always being a fan of wine cask maturations but his positive comments projected the little known indie brand onto my radar.
Fast forward to now (actually a while ago but as per usual I’m running behind…) and Fishermans Retreat are onto their next release – a 12yo Bruichladdich which has been matured in an ex – Rivesaltes wine cask. For the uninitiated in the ways of the grape (in which I am including myself) Rivesaltes is a sweet fortified wine made in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France.
A bit of a novelty cask-wise and one that I’ve certainly not encountered before. There have been official Bruichladdich releases in the past that have been matured in Rivesaltes casks and occasionally private bottlings pop up at auction but both are increasingly hard to find.
Bruichladdich 12yo, IB (Fishermans Retreat) 50.4%abv, press sample (available here)
The nose has a subtle richness with red fruits and green apples. Perhaps even stewed apples with a sprinkle of dried spices. There is a faint dampness or perhaps even an earthy aroma intermingled with a coastal breeze and a faint mineral presence. It is almost akin to a funky Manzanilla / Palo Cortado sherry hybrid .
The palate is drying with touches of brine and is spiced with some ginger and perhaps a little vanilla essence underneath. There is a touch of wood here too, perhaps both toasted oak and a touch of cedar which both mix with some over ripe blood oranges, a little blackcurrant jam and a touch of barley water.
The finish has a lingering sweetness, similar to a charred maple syrup, along with the ginger from the palate and a twist of black pepper.
The addition of water benefits all round, helping to round off the flavours, bring out some of the coastal notes, a mild florality and helps to highlight the darker fruit elements.
All in it is a very intriguing dram matured in somewhat of a rare cask. The beauty of which lies in the fact that it hasn’t obfuscated the Bruichladdich DNA held within. My only grumble would be that it is £90 for a 50cl bottle but upon reflection for an unusual dram it is perhaps worth it for those who are seeking something that little bit different.
You can find more of my tasting notes in the Amateur Drammers Archives.
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