Today is a special day. By the time you read this, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will have not only been released, but I will have seen it. I’m booked in to the midnight showing, so as not to have to avoid the internet due to it being filled with spoilers for the film.
When looking through my whisky collection, there was only one dram that could possibly fit the day. Maybe the geekiest bottle on my shelf, and one of my favourites: an independently bottled Bruichladdich 1992, the Save Lars Whisky.
I’m a bit of a Star Wars fan, and I’m far from the only one in the global whisky community. From Jon ‘Scotch and Sci-Fi’ Webb to The Scotch Trooper, we hide in plain sight, surrounded by the other whisky geeks. However, one of our number has taken things further than the rest – Mark ‘The Toshan Man’ Dermul.
Not only is Mark a blogger and Auchentoshan obsessive, but his love for Star Wars surpasses the rest of us. He already leads trips to locations used in the films and has written guides to Star Wars tourism, but he went still one stage further. Gathering a group of fellow geeks, he went to Tunisia to restore the Lars Homestead, the moisture farm where Luke Skywalker begins his journey to being an intergalactic terrorist. The Tunisian desert is a far-from-hospitable place, and the set was starting to fall to pieces, so Mark and his gang raised some money, travelled over and rebuilt it – the Save Lars project.
To commemorate the successful build, Mark and Manny – the other whisky fan in the group – decided to bottle some whisky. They initially did a special bottling for the six members of the project team, but the reaction from whisky geeks and Star Wars fans led to them buying the rest of the cask from indie bottler A D Rattray and doing a wider release of 100 bottles. In true Star Wars fashion, they decided not to end there and do a trilogy – an Auchentoshan and a Balmenach followed.
I got a bottle of the first release – I follow Mark online and couldn’t turn down the chance of a bottle of Star Wars themed whisky. It’s a Bruichladdich 1992, bottled at 20 years old in 2013. Fortunately, he knows his audience, and every bottle came with a sample – no need to open the full-sized bottle, which now sits in pride of place at the front of my whisky shelf.
So, what better reason to open my sample than for the launch of a new Star Wars film?
Nose: My favourite kind of Bruichladdich – old skool. Soft and floral, with butter and butterscotch, honeysuckle, violets (just a hint) and freshly mown grass. There are, inevitably, some sweet-shop flavours in the mix, with pink shrimps, Toffos and a few sherbet lemons hiding at the back.
Palate: Sweet and buttery to start, with the toffee and butterscotch of the nose taking over. However, the sharper grassy and citrus notes build on the tongue, along with some anise and sweet oak. The lemon grows, with sherbety fizziness and a touch of cinnamon spice.
Finish: More toffee to start, fading through cinnamon to refreshing anise and butter finish – reminiscent of the Pernod butter that used to come with steaks at The Gunmakers in ye olden dayes.
It’s the style of Bruichladdich that I like the most, back from the days before its reopening in 2000. It’s a classic flavour profile, with buttery and grassy spirit slowly polished by a couple of decades in cask. An excellent celebratory dram for the launch of the new Star Wars film. Now to hope that the film lives up to the whisky…
Bruichladdich 1992 20yo
Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 46%. ~€100, if I remember correctly