Whisky Review #126: Bruichladdich “Oirthir Gaidheal” 1993 16 Years Old (Feis Ile 2009 Bottling)

It is a well-known fact that Bruichladdich is my favourite distillery and the wealth of expressions which are available to sample makes it an easy proposition whenever I’m at a bar.

It was during one of my (increasingly frequent) visits to one of the newest whisky bars in Singapore, The Swan Song, that I noticed that they had a bottle which I had not seen before on their shelves. The fact that it was a Bruichladdich piqued my interest and I knew that I had to sample it. So I did.

This week’s review focuses on a rather interesting expression from Bruichladdich, which was distilled in 1993 (well within the realm of Whyte & Mackay’s ownership of the distillery), matured for 16 years in refill sherry casks before being bottled for Feis Ile 2009 at a cask strength abv of 53.6% and with an outturn of just 1000 bottles.

So, let’s jump right into the review!

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Bruichladdich “Oirthir Gaidheal” 1993 16 Years Old (Feis Ile 2009 Bottling)

Bruichladdich “Oirthir Gaidheal” 1993 16 Years Old (Feis Ile 2009 Bottling, 53.6% abv)

Colour: Burnished copper

Nose: Initial entry presents soft sherry hints followed by pine, oak and sea salt, which is rather consistent with the style of spirit which was produced during the Whyte & Mackay era of ownership. With time, wax, hints of prunes, camphor, limestone, apricots and lime emerge and are complemented by cinnamon, aniseed and cigar leaves. (21/25)

Palate: Initial entry presents more of what was displayed in the nose, followed by soft resins, orange, sherried raisins, cigar leaves and black pepper. With time, the oak becomes more apparent, but not at the expense of the sherry or citrus fruits. Rather than overpowering these elements, it lends another dimension to the proceedings. (22/25)

Finish: Long and lingering on the finish, with the sherry, oak, sea salt and citrus hints bringing things to a close with vestigial hints of the cigar leaves following to the very end. (21/25)

Balance: A rather well-balanced and enjoyable dram which exhibits some of the classic hints which one would associate with the old Bruichladdich style which focused more on the fruits, pine and sea salt hints rather than the barley. The mouthfeel was oily initially but did become rather drying over time. (21/25)

Rating: 85/100

This expression can be sampled at The Swan Song and retails for approximately $25 per 20ml pour, which is an absolute bargain when you consider the provenance and history of the spirit within the bottle. I would highly recommend that this be sampled while stocks last as I anticipate that it won’t be around for long.

Until the next post, have a wonderful week ahead.

Slainte!

Brendan

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