I said I was going to post my write-up of a visit and tour of Tomatin today but I have roughly 37,573 photographs from the day and when I sat down today to make a selection, resize and upload it was all too much. Accordingly, I have punted that to next week and I have another whisky review today. If you are disappointed you can always ask for your money back. Since this was going to have been an all Islay week (with Monday’s Laphroaig, Wednesday’s Bowmore and yesterday’s Kilchoman), I decided to at least be consistent with that. Here, therefore, is a review of a Port Charlotte (Bruichladdich’s peated malt, if you don’t follow this stuff closely). The distillery is, of course, known for a wide range of wine cask finishes, but the fact that they produced this from eau de vie casks (or is it a single cask?) surprised even me. I fear that my jokes from past years that the brain trust at Bruichladdich would eventually release Jägermeister and then septic tank finishes may soon come true.
No, I don’t know what the “CC: 01” in the name refers to. I’m not particularly interested in finding out either.
Port Charlotte 2007 CC: 01 (57.8%; bottled in 2017; eau de vie cask; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Eau de vie? More like eau de puke! Quite butyric off the top along with ashy smoke and then there are increasing coastal notes: brine, kelp, shells. I”m not really getting anything out of the ordinary here that I could ascribe to the eau de vie cask. With time and then with water the sour milk goes away and it’s sweeter now
Palate: Cleaner here with more acid (lemon) and some malty roundness to go with the smoke. Quite drinkable at full strength. Gets more peppery as it goes and there’s a slightly chalky note as well now. More pepper with water and it’s fresh cracked black pepper to be precise.
Finish: Long. Ashy smoke and then the pepper and chalk. The smoke picks up more char with water.
Comments: Well, blind I would not have guessed there was any unusual cask involved here. It seems like pretty standard Port Charlotte on the whole. Not a big fan of the sour milk note—which I seem to get off almost everything from Bruichladdich—but the rest is fine, if unremarkable. You can get all the good parts here in a Lagavulin 12 CS without any of the off-notes (and also with more good parts). I liked it better with water.
Rating: 85 points.
Thanks to Michael K. for the sample!