After a very timely review on Friday (the new Laphroaig Cairdeas) let’s go back to another late 2000s release. This is also from Islay but was released a year after last Monday’s Caol Ila. It’s also a fair bit younger: 7 years old, to be exact. It was the third release in Bruichladdich’s limited edition run towards what became the regular Port Charlotte 10. I’ve not had the PC5; I’ve reviewed the PC6 (good, but nothing special, I thought) and the PC8 (which I really liked). I have unopened bottles of the PC9 and PC10 on the shelf—I’m not sure where the series stands now.
I opened this bottle for my local group’s August tasting. It was a big hit there, garnering some big scores from a few people. I quite liked it too and have been looking forward to sitting down and taking some formal notes. Here they are.
Port Charlotte PC7 (61%; bourbon and sherry matured; from my own bottle)
Nose: Big lactic wave off the top and it smells more like scalded milk than parmesan. Some lemon below that. As the milk begins to dissipate (takes more than a minute), coastal notes begin to emerge: kelp, wet stones, brine. Oh yes, there’s smoke, of course. After about five minutes the scalded milk note has turned into a more conventional creaminess. With water there’s lemon-cream and vanilla and more lemon mixed with the smoke (which has a slightly rubbery edge now).
Palate: Nothing lactic or butyric here: just ashy smoke, sweet peat and lemon. Nice mouthfeel; drinkable enough at full strength but it will have more to say with water. With more time, a mild butyric note does pop up here. Let’s see if water takes care of that. The smoke expands with water and now it’s more peppery. Some apple too now.
Finish: Long. The cream re-emerges (almost like very milky coffee, actually). Lemon and smoke linger at the end. Longer and smokier with water.
Comments: The milk on the nose at first and second sniff was rather strong, and while not unpleasant, is not exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for in whisky. It settled down though, and with time and water presented a great harmony of smoke, lemon and cream that belies its age. Not much sign of the sherry cask component, by the way. Its contribution may have been to round off some of the more youthful notes. I have to say I liked it better at the tasting when the bottle was newly opened. I’ll track the bottle as it stays open and report if there are any significant changes. If you’ve tried it as well, as I know some of you have (Ol’ Jas?), please write in below.
Rating: 87 points.