Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Distillery Bottlings Tasting Notes

Posted: August 25, 2011 in Bruichladdich (Port Charlotte), Scotch Whisky A-G

Port Charlotte New Make

(Distilled 15/10/03, sample drawn 5/5/04)

As expected it had that ‘straight off the still’ pungency with quite a lot of smoky-peat flavours, yet beneath this there was an underlying fruitiness – apples, honeysuckle, all that you would expect from Bruichladdich. A drop of water brought forward its natural oils and smoothness, while subduing its peatiness. I think I can see this being similar to the Bruichladdich links, in so far as it will be a classic Bruichladdich but with a back drop of gentle smoke/peat.

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 46%

Tasted: Mar 2011

A crisp, briny and peaty nose. It puts me in mind of a young, moderately peated Caol Ila – wonderfully fresh and coastally! The up pops some sugar sprinkled orange, citrus rind and as the aromas unfold some rubber and burnt wood aromas emerge and finally some creamy oak. The peat is quite dry and crumbly, almost dusty in character and quite gentle unlike say the PC8 which was visceral in its intensity.

The palate is soft and quite sooty to begin with. There is a suggestion of apricot and orange fruit and a lovely rounded depth. The dry peat arrives with elegance on the middle with a lovely complexity of dry, earthy layers. Good length with hints of honeyed citrus returning and some bitter oak, salinity and herbal nuances. Quite an oily after taste.

Very charming and civilised but I miss the rampant intensity of previous bottlings.

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte ‘Scottish Barley’ 50%

Peated to 40ppm/ Tasted: Sept 2013

A very clean nose of crisp white fruit and bon myrtle plus both earthy-peat and coastal-peat. Give it some time it begins to flesh out with some sweet barley, vanilla and apricot, with the barley showing a slight gristiness. Quite elegant with developing notes of creosote, tar, smoked fish and burnt wood. Very complex and evolving.

The palate opens with the sweet barley and apricot followed by some lightly coffee’d tannins and burnt wood. The loamy, earthy-peat builds and becomes rather smoky on the middle. Waves of brine peat follow with a light floral note and vanilla note appearing. Very long, dusty finish with a touch of violet and honeysuckle in amongst the drying salt. Although it may be relatively heavily peated, it still has elegance and class.

Port Charlotte 5 year old ‘PC5 Evolution’ 67%

Fresh Sherry/ Tasted: July 2006

Peated to 40ppm

Wow, wow and thrice wow! – This is stunning, loads of luxurious, silky sherry fruit aromas lift from the glass. Complex and inviting with loads of stinky bog myrtle peat, smoke and brine. This has buckets of character with honeyed malt and a cereal note.

The palate is equally luscious with honeyed sherry fruit, Bowmore-esque smoky-peat and tangy fruit. This has been matured in casks of the highest quality, no off notes, just luscious, juicy fruit finishing with lazy smoke, coal tar and coastal notes.

Water mellows the sherry intensity on the nose brining out a coffee/ spice note and emphasising the earthiness. Whilst on the palate it brings out a mellow light orange/ apricot and citrus note. Just barely noticeable on the finish is a touch of new make spirit, just to remind you how young it really is, but it is brief and only really noticeable if you have had the opportunity to taste this remarkable spirit in its formative years. It has a lovely length and exits with a mouth filling smokiness.

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte PC6 61.1%

Bourbon – Madeira/ Tasted: Nov 2007

A big, rich, Madeira fruit led nose but that is not stopping the phenolic, manure-peat and coastal sprit from asserting itself. Boisterous and farmyard with bog myrtle, camphor and more youthful peat than you can shake a stick at. All the while the Madeira cask gives a lovely biscuit weight to the aromas.

A seriously drying palate, the combination of salty-peat and alcohol sees to that. Seriously intense and mouth-watering with a bedrock of dense dried fruit underlying the rampaging peat, alcohol and salinity. Lovely bitter sweet balance but any malty sweetness pales before then oak, alcohol and salt. Damn it’s good.

With water the nose takes on a sort of rich, Ardbeg character. Less oak now lets the manure-peat show it’s full glory and a touch of rose petatly spirit again reminds you just how young it is. \the plate is considerably sweeter now, but still very manure. The oak and alcohol is tamed and lot less rampaging now so the complexity of the peat flavours can be fully appreciated. Still mouth filling and slightly less bitter in the finish. Awesome!

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte PC8 60.5%   

Bourbon/ Tasted: Feb 2010

A huge, phenolic beastie of a nose! Rampaging and windswept with salt, medicinal bog myrtle and iodine peat. The coastal astringency roars above the beautiful orange/ tangerine/ lemon fruit. The nose continues evolving with oily rubber, a touch of tar and slightly charred wood joining the complexity of peat notes, and then the wonderfully sweet malt emerges followed by the pure, creamy American oak. As Jim would say an ‘olfactory journey!’

Good grief it’s sooty! It’s like chewing on pure peat briquettes! Oily and dry the peat flavours are incredibly complex, beginning with bog myrtle, bracken, menthol and moving into woody/ loamy pastures. My this is intense, the palate feels like it is being pummelled by the Atlantic ocean as the peat moves into a sooty dénouement. The intensity is of Stagg-esque proportions, and just like the Stagg, you really have to experience this neat. However it’s not all about peat and alcohol, there is a beautiful bedrock of demarara sprinkled maritime fruit and oak.

With the addition of water the nose becomes calmer and gentler. No longer ‘in yer face’. Now the oak shines and is brought forward adding a lovely, sweet butterscotch and dry barley nuance and the fruit takes on a juicy sheen. It does pretty much the same thing on the palate, although the intensity is no longer at 11, the beauty and complexity of the peat journey can be really appreciated. It starts off with a homage to Laphroaig, all medicinal and bog myrtley, becoming more tarry and sooty towards the finish, and boy does that finish last.

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 year old (Second Edition) 50%

Tasted: Dec 2016

Expressive and coastally fruity nose with coffee coated peat, medicinal peat, earth and underlying barley and vanilla. Beautiful intensity and balance with hints of lime, greengage, green apple and herbs.

Fresh and citric, opening with a lovely barley sweetness before the coffee’d and medicinal peat arrives. Gently malty with baked fruit, salt and subtle herbal notes on the middle. Long and continuing citric and peaty with and elegant, salty, liquorice and dry spice finish.

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 2001 (currently 12 years old) 61.2%

Mouton Rothchild cask – Jim McEwan family cask for the 2013 Feis Ila.

Tasted: Nov 2013

A very intense and meaty nose all liberally coated in bbq sauce! The herbal-peat begins to break through the syrupy spicy red fruits bringing a fairly intense medicinal note with it. It’s definitely a battle royal between the caks and the spirit but I can amazingly detect some of the classic ‘laddie honeysuckle character. Only very lightly coastal with hints of coffee, wood resin and herbal smoke smoke.

The palate is quite soft, given the high abv, again opening with the bbq meat and sauce notes from the nose. Full and rich with plumy red fruit, syrup and sweet, meaty peat smoke. The alcohol comes through on the middle but the syrup holds it in check. Very long with the meat smoke returning along with a light parma violet note and lingering spicy red fruit. Stunning stuff!

Dilution definitely emphasises the cask with its tight, herbal tannins along with some elemental peat notes. Still quite earthy, but that peat is being held in a winey glove, but I’m not getting much of the bbq smoke now. The palate is also displaying more of the syrup coated red wine character with just a suggestion of bbq meat smoke and sweet peat. However it’s very mouth-filling and herbal with some lingering sweet violet notes. Finally some briny notes come through with a touch of dusty-peat and dark chocolate in the finish.

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