Dramfool Port Charlotte 2001, 15 Years Old (58.3)

 Bruichladdich, Independent Bottling, Scotch Single Malt  Comments Off on Dramfool Port Charlotte 2001, 15 Years Old (58.3)
Jun 112018
 

With Feis Ile a week behind us, some peat was in order, and as the last of the 2001 casks were released by Bruichladdich for the distillery bottling, I’m having a taste of the Dramfool 2001 Port Charlotte.

Photo Credit: Whisky.com

This is a single bourbon hogshead which yielded 195 bottles.

 

Photo Credit: Whisky Gospel

Dramfool Port Charlotte 2001, 15 Years Old, Bourbon Hogshead 0847, Yielded 195 Bottles (58.3% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Light gold, very viscous with thick slow legs and a lot of residue on the glass.

Nose: Darn, one of my favorite things about Port Charlotte is that it’s not lactic. This cask is a bit lactic at first, then goes to the briny and sweet. This is quite maritime and sweet, with a ladle of cullen skink soup. Water brings out a bit more of the sweetness on the nose.

Palate: Honey and strong peat, very full bodied and pleasant. This is a nice sipper full of ash with spice and a nice hint of lemon and vanilla.

Linger: Dry, peppery and very ashy, with the pepper encircling the gullet. There’s a residual sweetness that lingers with the peat for a long while.

Conclusion

Not as sweet as most of the Port Charlottes I’ve had, but is definitely a nice sipper for a whack of peat.

Apr 032017
 

While not an official bottling of Bruichladdich, this is a good opportunity for me to relay some experiences from my visit at Bruichladdich last October. I won’t make this an extensive post, but I will make some observations:

First, Bruichladdich is bringing back floor maltings for all Islay grown barley. When I visited in October, it was already approved by the planning commission, so this is still a couple of years away. I reckon that the earliest we’ll see whisky malted there is in eight years or so, so around 2025, and I assume it will first show up in an Octomore expression.

Malt and Oak

Second, Adam Hannett’s basic take on whisky making is keeping things mixed up. He’s happy about Bruichladdich’s variation and the lack of a real “core range”, and intends to keep up that way of doing things.

Third, anybody who’s been to Bruichladdich will confirm that the distillery has an air of joie de vivre, patently striking from the moment you step into the shop all through the production floors and warehouses. It’s a great place to visit, and Carl taking us around and Adam taking the time to walk us through the warehouses was fabulous! Thanks Adam and Carl ūüôā

Cask Raiding with Adam

Speaking of warehouses, some massive ones are being built a few hundred yards from the current warehouses, which will greatly increase storage capacity.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

 

And now, on to this single Bruichladdich, distilled when Adam was in grade school, not to far from where the distillation took place….

 

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

The Single Malts of Scotland, Bruichladdich 23 Year Old 1992, Cask 3839, 237 Bottles (55.4% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Deep gold, thin and very slow legs running off a long lasting necklace.

Nose: The first thing that jumps up at you is no lacticity. That’s a funny way to start a note, I know, but to my nose Bruichladdich whisky (but not the peated versions) is very lactic, and I usually find it somewhat challenging. Honey, alpine evergreens and some old citrus peels. There’s a touch of floral perfume on the nose, with a hint of toffee and vanilla.

Palate: Very full bodied, intensely spicy (mostly black pepper, but a note of cumin too), honey and chalk, with some bitterness. You can just get a hint of the lacticity here, but not in an offensive way.

Linger: Hot spices and bitter citrus rind. This dram is very warming down the gullet, with latent spice all around it. The spices hit you with black pepper, white pepper and a touch of fresh cardamom, and a hint of sweetness in the end.

Conclusion

An older style Bruichladdich, this is really a solid dram. The style is quite different than the newer expressions out now, and the cask was meticulously selected.

May 222016
 

Today is the Bruichladdich open day on Islay, and we celebrate it taking a look at the old Port Charlotte Distillery and with a tasting of a wonderful new Port Charlotte in Cognac casks.

Port Charlotte Distillery was also known as the Lochindaal Distillery. It was established in 1829 and was operated under a succession of owners, until in 1855 it came under the ownership of John B. Sherriff and was operated by his family until 1920. At that point, it was bought by Campbeltown’s Benmore distillery, which was swallowed up by DCL in 1929. DCL promptly closed the distillery, eventually using it to warehouse some of the overflow from Caol Ila.

Photo Credit: islayinfo.com

Photo Credit: islayinfo.com

Alfred Barnard visited the distillery in the mid 1880s, and here are some of his impressions:

“We next passed Bruichladdich Distillery, which lies on the side of the road. Two miles further on we reached Port Charlotte, a village of little importance and interest except for the large Distillery owned by Mr. Sheriff, which employs a number of the labouring class, and gives some little life to the locality. At the back of the Distillery the ground rises into hills near the top of which are two beautiful lochs, the Garroch and Octomore, from whence the water supply to the Distillery is obtained….The Kiln is floored with German wire cloth, the first we have seen in the island, and we were informed that it is very expensive. Peat only is used in drying the malt, fired in open chauffeurs. The old Mash-house, which is kept very clean and is white- washed, contains a circular Mash Tun, the Underback, and two heating Coppers. In the Tun-room there are eight Washbacks, with an average capacity of 10,000 gallons each. The Still-house, which is a neat building, well lighted, contains three old Pot Stills and the usual Receivers and Chargers. On the opposite side of the road, on the sea shore, are several large bonded Warehouses, capable of holding 5,000 casks.”

 

Lochindaal Distillery, 1918 Photo Credit: Bruichladdich.com

Lochindaal Distillery, 1918
Photo Credit: Bruichladdich.com

The site¬†is now owned by nearby Bruichladdich, who have revived the name in the Port Charlotte heavily peated range, and plans were made to actually rebuild the distillery. By 2012 they had all the permits, but the¬†Remy Cointreau takeover seems to have put all these plans on ice, despite initial estimates that the takeover would actually make funding the project easier. It’s worth noting that Bruichladdich brought over all the distillation equipment from the¬†Inverleven Distillery (a malt distillery built inside the¬†Dumbarton grain distillery), so theoretically, making it happen shouldn’t be all that complex. In any event, it seems that for the foreseeable future our Port Charlotte whisky will be distilled at Bruichladdich.

Photo Credit: malt-review.com

Photo Credit: bruichladdich.com

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 2007, 8 Year Old CC:01, Cognac Casks – Travel Retail (57.8% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold, solid necklace letting off very thin legs.

Nose: Dry nose, the cognac is quite noticeable, hint of hazelnut, butterscotch, salty and somewhat oaky, with a lot of vanilla and a hint of maltiness.

Palate: Sweet and buttery, with a very distinct cognac-y note. Tannic with fire giving the feeling of burnt wood, drying on the tongue and cheeks, with a toffee like feel.

Linger: Long, with an overall dryness and a notes of Grande Champagne Cru Cognac and hints of marshmallow.

Conclusion

This is a beautiful expression, highlighting some notes that are less prevalent in whisky, all the while keeping true to the promise of being different than your run of the mill predictable whisky.

Apr 212016
 

With only a few exceptions, I like wine cask finishes and am¬†usually intrigued by them. The evening I tasted this dram, I also tasted a Caol Ila matured in a Banyules wine cask, that I found not to my liking. Having mentioned that on social media, I seem to have somehow offended the wonderful people at the shop that bottled the whisky. My opinions on whisky are, of course, subjectively mine, but in my writing on whisky there’s nothing personal. My opinion on the liquid has nothing to do with the name on the label. If I like it, I’ll say it, and if not, I’ll say that too. Never was the ancient saying¬†de gustibus non est disputandum¬†more relevant than in this highly emotional world of whisky we so love.

And now to the whisky at hand:

Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Bottle your own, or a distillery exclusive bottling, is a great way for distilleries to not only make money, but also to reward those who made the way to the distillery. As Bruichladdich puts it:

These are the DIY bottlings available exclusively to visitors to the distillery. A valinch, possibly from a Spanish term, is the name applied to a large, copper pipette used to take cask samples from whisky barrels. Our view is if you have made the effort to get here to Islay then you deserve something just a little extra special. Valinchs are by definition only ever at cask strength, from a single barrel, and selected by Jim for individuality. Each Valinch released has it’s own label and title, usually to commemorate a specific event.

I’ll be at Bruichladdich on October 18th, and look forward to seeing what Valinch expression will be offered…

Photo Credit: thewhiskybarrel.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskybarrel.com

Port Charlotte Cuan-Àrd Valinch 06, Grenache Blanc Cask 1615, Distilled 12.10.2005 (58.6% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Bronze, with thin legs and a lot of residual droplets.

Nose: Malt and some wine dryness. Mild sourness, dried fruit and distant wood smoke. Like sour candy and a note of ash. Also some berries, more on the sour side of red fruit. Despite the ABV,

Palate: Thick, sweet, peaty and ashy. Spice comes through, then sweetness again. Definitely good, with some dryness.

Linger: Spice high in the throat, long sweetness on tongue, the ashy sweetness you’d associate with Ardbeg.

Conclusion

This is an excellent example of a very well made wine matured whisky. The peat works really well with the wine, which is something I’d more readily associate with red wines, but you can’t argue with success.