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  • Writer's pictureHarold

Bruichladdich Rivesaltes Duo

One can become a bonafide wine aficionado just by understanding the different types of Rivesaltes styles…but who really has time for all that, so I’ll spare you the details. The short of it, is that Rivesaltes is a sweet, fortified, dessert style wine made in the southeast of France and has a few different styles that give it some flavor varieties. Mark Reynier and Jim McEwan, during their time at Bruichladdich, famously never met a wine cask they didn’t want to try out their new make spirit in, so there happens to be plenty of Laddie/Rivesaltes stuff floating about. Although, to my knowledge, they've never bottled any of it themselves. Strictly for IB's and private casks. Today I’m comparing a couple similar bottlings…one from a private cask, and one from a young independent bottler, bottled almost a year apart, I believe.

 
Bruichladdich 10 Year - Uisge Luing - Rivesaltes Hogshead #1525 – 58.5%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Bruichladdich - Private Cask

"Uisge Luing" 10 Year

Rivesaltes Hogshead 1525

58.5%


Appearance: Deep tawny, mahogany

First Whiff: Get the firehose!

Nose: Begs for water right away, but let’s hold off for now. Antiseptic and slightly medicinal…as in latex gloves and cotton balls. Super tight and restrained but there’s a bit of floral honey trying to overtake the smokey cinnamon, sulphur bomb this is destined to be. With water: Phew! Still tight but my nose can actually get close to the glass now. Some nutty, caramel, vanilla extract appears but subdued overall by the spice.

Palate: The front end is not very welcoming. Sulphur? Possible, but also likely this was a rancio style of Rivesaltes which is where those smokey notes may be coming from. With water: Acetone and cinnamon, I’m afraid. Totally devoid of any of that wonderful fruity Laddie character.

Finish: Hopefully the firehose arrived in time…Long and numbing this one was. Some top notes of hot, pink pencil eraser, like the ones used after erasing a whole page of doodles from your elementary school math book.


Summary: This is clearly a love it/hate it type cask. Laddie lovers might love some variance but there was NO Laddie DNA left in this bottling. If you’re a fan of hot, spicy, high proofed wine then you might be a fan. You also may want to try serving it chilled, too.

IDS SCORE: 77

 
Bruichladdich Artful Dodger - 2010/9 Year - Rivesaltes Cask# R18/3240001 – 64.2%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Bruichladdich - Artful Dodger

2010/9 Year

Rivesaltes Cask R18/3240001

64.2%


Appearance: Auburn, tawny

First Whiff: Did the firetruck leave already?

Nose: Ok, not as bad as the first one but still…necessary water coming up. Like before, more antiseptic funk verging on matchstick sulphur bomb territory. Funny, it's often described as “baby vomit” or “farty,” but when it’s integrated in small doses sulphur can actually compliment a cask at times. With water: Again, those floral notes are fighting to get there…dirt covered rose petals, almost literally.

Palate: Literally 6 degrees of (not Kevin Bacon) alcohol separation from the first one but little difference, burn wise. Hard to significantly go from “hot” to “hotter” once your tongue has already been anesthetized, I guess. Burnt rubber, leaning towards fresh asphalt/tar. Again, some caramel, toffee, bitter dark chocolate and beef cubes. With water: Nail polish remover…always fun.

Finish: Ashy coal. My mouth feels like a fireplace after the yule log finally went out. Water opened things up a little, but I struggled to find any enjoyment out of this one.


Summary: Palates are funny. I tried a taste of the first pour a few years ago and absolutely loved it. Fell in love with the slight (at the time) sulphuric note and then sought out any other Laddie Rivesaltes casks I could get my hands on. Since then, however, I’ve become super sulphur sensitive and overall opposed to any type of smokey/matchstick/firework note when it shows up right away.


The lack of official Rivesaltes bottlings by Bruichladdich might mean I’m perhaps in simpatico with the brand. I struggle to find any original Laddie character and absolutely zero balance of spirit to cask, which is probably why most of these have either been bottled in their “Micro-provenance Exploration” offshoots, by private investors or independently.

IDS SCORE: 79

 

Bruichladdich Rivesaltes Duo

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