This is cask #3841, bottled at 54.9%, a sample very kindly provided by Elixir Distillers.
First impression: Fust! lovely old fust.
On the nose there's rich old malt and fust, and perhaps something savoury. It seems rather prickly for a twenty-six year old.
Yep, it's definitely rich, and smells properly old, and a little funky. Perhaps the herbalness of a tomato sauce as it cooks.
I do keep mentioning fust, don't I? It's a good thing too, in my book, but it does rather dominate. I don't see any of the lactic character one finds in younger Bruichladdichs.
On the palate it's sweet and thick and slightly bitter. There's an interesting spicy or peppery note, and something of bitter almond. I'd say the sweetness tends more to syrup than honey.
Over time the malt elements become stronger. It's persistently jaggy on the tongue and soft palate.
In conclusion I'd rate this whisky as good. There's a degree of complexity to it, and the fustiness (that damp-seeming aroma which reminds us of the delights of a dunnage warehouse) is great, but it's definitely a wee bit sharp for twenty-six years, and I don't think it really shouts Bruichladdich.
3+ (on a scale of 0: faulty / 1: poor / 2: adequate / 3: good / 4: excellent / 5: outstanding)