Auction: SC002 - Pouring Gold For A Platinum Year - Spink in association with Cask 88: Whisky - e-Auction
Age: 19 years
Distillation Date: 15th July 2002
Cask type: First Fill Ex-Bourbon
Re-gauge ABV: 54.8%
Re-gauged Litres of Alcohol (RLA): 86.2 litres
New bulk litres: 156.0 litres
Re-gauge Date: 17th June 2019 (Regauge Pending)
Cask Number: 503
Stored at Bruichladdich distillery
Filled Around HM's Golden Jubilee, A First Fill Ex-Bourbon Cask From an Islay Distillery of Distinction
Bruichladdich source their ex-bourbon casks from Jack Daniels, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam or Old Grandad, so we can say with certainty that this wood came from one of these American distilleries. Quercus alba (white oak), commonly known as American oak, is the type of wood maturing Bruichladdich's spirit, and on this occasion it is a first fill cask bourbon cask which normally displays vanilla, butterscotch and tropical fruit notes.
"This type of cask matures whisky at a good, consistent pace; contributes sweetness, creaminess and spice flavours; while also leaving more room for the distillate to express its character than you get with virgin oak.
- Jane Carswell (Bruichladdich 2020)
Bruichladdich is a unique example of a distillery which still uses traditional methods in the majority of their whisky production. There are no computers used in the distilling process and it uses the largest mash tun in the industry, which dates back to the distillery opening in 1881.
Jim McEwan, who began his career in whisky in 1963 as an apprentice cooper at Bowmore distillery, and has over 50 years experience in the whisky industry, is likely to have overseen the filling of this cask on the overcast 9th of June 2008. During his tenure as distillery manager, he was instrumental in the reopening of Bruichladdich after the distillery was mothballed in the 1990s and since has also been a pioneer of barley experimentation. Included in his long list of achievements is his creation of the most heavily peated spirit to run off a Scottish still (Octomore), which released in April 2008 and now is a consistent release from Bruichladdich.
It is fitting that this cask is available at our Pouring Gold For A Platinum Year auction as it was filled just 5 months after Her Majesty celebrated her Golden Jubilee. Bruichladdich are also making history in the present, their drive for a more sustainable process has seen them become the first Scotch whisky distillery to be a certified B Corporation. When asked if Bruichladdich are protective about the fact they are the only distillery to boast this credential, brand ambassador Abi Clephame noted 'that is absolutely the opposite of the point of this community and we are a community and its about growing that and using our business to have meaningful impact' - an extremely refreshing attitude in a competitive market.
This first fill bourbon barrel was re-gauged in July 2019 a hair under 55% ABV, so has held its strength well and could potentially continue maturation for many years. Expressions of aged Bruichladdich in ex-bourbon barrels similar to this have enjoyed incredible success and popularity; for example, several of the Black Art releases can trace their roots back to ex-bourbon casks similar to the one here at auction.
If the 1990s were a time of recovery and reinvention, then the following decade provided the ideal conditions for growth - for both the British monarchy and the Scotch whisky industry. Economic recession and distillery closures in the preceding two decades were a drastic setback for the industry, from which it bounced back in the 2000s, as distilleries started opening in great numbers up and down Scotland.
The decade began darkly for HM Queen Elizabeth, with the deaths of her sister Princess Margaret and, shortly after, her mother in February and March 2002 respectively. Her Golden Jubilee, celebrating her half-century on the British throne, came quickly on the heels of this period of mourning. The Queen was greeted with an outpouring of public support, in recognition of her role not only as a head of state unfailingly dedicated to her public duty, but also a loving daughter, sister, mother and grandmother.
In April 2009, mere weeks before our Whitlaw cask was filled, Prince Philip became the longest-serving British royal consort, another timely reminder of our Queen's dual responsibility to the state and family and a celebration of the man who was a source of great support, joy and comfort to HM The Queen throughout her reign.