Bruichladdich (pronounced brook-laddie) is one of Scotland's most innovative distilleries. Based on the island of Islay, it is one of very few independently owned Scottish distilleries and since being taken over by a millionaire entrepreneur in 2000 has been very experimental with it's whisky production and release programme. Bruichladdich's distillery style is quite light and fresh with no smoky flavours or aromas, which contrasts to the majority of other whisky produced on Islay. However, they do also release smoky whiskies under the Port Charlotte name and they are currently in the process of renovating the old Port Charlotte distillery on Islay, which closed during the late 1920s. They also have experimented by distilling their spirit three or four times and are well known for putting whisky into non traditional wine and dessert wine casks. The results are mixed but I like Bruichladdich's experimentation as they are trying to introduce new people to whisky, which can only be a good thing. However, many whisky purists do not like this approach, believing that whisky should be matured in the traditional casks of bourbon, sherry and refill whisky. Bruichladdich's range is extensive and they are always updating it with new releases. This one is from a couple of years ago and has been matured in one of those un-traditional wine casks (a full bodied red wine called Banyuls from the south of France).
The first thing that I notice is the colour. It is very different for a whisky, having a pink tint reminiscent of rose wine. For this reason it was marketed to attract women to try and drink whisky. The nose has quite a lot of wine influence in it, with fresh red berries and grapes prominent. There is also a sweet tinge to the nose. On the palate, this whisky is very smooth and easy to drink with those rich red berries and grapes combating some tannic dryness that has come from the wooden wine casks. The finish is slightly short and starts off being smooth yet switches to be quite bitter (the tannins again, I guess) and some raw spirit coming through (indicating the whisky is young). Overall, this was quite pleasant easy drinking whisky, although the wine cask did give it a weird edge. It is unlike any other whisky I have tasted to date. If you can still find a bottle anywhere, then it is worth buying as it should only be around £20-25.