Thanks to /u/xile_ for the sample of the last one.
Independent bottlers are a boon that I think I take for granted. I’ve had quite a few IB scotches. And the odd thing is I now go back to OB scotches, and while some are still interesting, you can really feel the effect of the industry on the whisky.
Whisky, in our capitalistic society, is expected to turn a profit. And companies will always aim for the highest profit. Which is why Dark Matter was cancelled even though it was amazing.
Fucking SyFy network.
So we’re lucky that our nerdom has a group that can make money and still release things that major companies can’t. And even try out things that others can’t.
But are they better? Well my last post was the OBs from Port Charlotte, how are the IB ones Port Charlotte?
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 6 Darkness! PX & Oloroso Hybrid Cask Finish is a different type of whisky. Rather than just buy a whisky and then bottle it at cask strength to let us try a young Port Charlotte.
Because we would go nuts over that.
No, instead they made a special 50 litre cask. Actually they made two. And put Pedro Ximenez sherry in one cask and Oloroso sherry in another, seasoning them. Then they dumped that sherry into someone’s open mouth.
Then they coopered them together to make a super cask. And finished the whisky in that.
So that’s insane. No one would ever do that. They’d have to offset costs somewhere else. Maybe release a NAS. However Master of Malt makes their money from selling. So they just have to… sell more whisky.
But how did it turn out? Let’s see.
Cask Types: Ex-bourbon, then finished for 6 months in a specially coopered 50 litre cask made with staves from both Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso Sherry casks
Colour: 5Y 8/8
Nose: Old cherries, farmyard, apple pie, peach jam, pineapple
Lots of funk. It’s a funk farm. All funk, all the time. Some spices, some butter, and that farmy, funky, old fruit note.
I like it. It’s young and strong, and the sherry elements are well paired. You have the light Oloroso notes mixing well with the rich PX notes.
Taste: Sour pineapple, lemon parfait, manure, chocolate
No more funk. I am sad. I’ll have to chase around the cats to be happy again.
I’m back. Cats are sleeping. Still sad.
There’s some of the manure/peat notes and some chocolate notes. However the youth of the dram is a double edged sword. And like children with double edged swords, there’s cuts and crying. And maybe a call to children services.
There’s a lot of citrus and prickly notes here. The sherry hides it, however it detracts from the dram.
Finish: Caramel, crabapple, brine, passionfruit, mushroom, cinnamon smoke
Finish, luckily, doesn’t have the spritey, young, spirit notes. It does have more of the funky, earth notes. And something that takes some water to really understand.
Ever smoke cinnamon? Yes? I too have been screwed over by a bad drug dealer. Joking aside, I added a cinnamon stick to a smoke pouch and this is exactly like that.
Conclusion: An interesting whisky. They took a young peat bomb that normally would be all spice and no ice. Wait, it would have no ice anyway. What I’m saying is it’s young.
Then you take a really nice blend of sherries, take the best from both and boom… Not a great taste. A good, not great finish. And a really good nose.
Honestly it’s an odd one. Personally if the whisky was older, or maybe not hyper aged, or fully matured in it. That taste of lemon in the middle was too odd.
Seriously though Bruichladdich, get the okay for this type of cask and do it!
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 13 2001 Rest & Be Thankful was purchased because I hadn’t seen many older Port Charlottes when I was putting this all together.
Old whiskies, especially peated ones, are harder to argue from a profitable point of view. If you can release something at 8 years and people will buy it because they are peat heads, why wait another 5 years, potentially lose that strength, lose some to the alcohol, and then may not be able to be sold for much more.
So this was made the year the distillery reopened, full matured in a Sherry cask. Let’s see how time affects the whisky.
Price: Sold out
Distillation Date: 20 Dec 2001
Bottling Date: 12 Aug 2015
Cask Number: R091600007
Cask Type: Sherry cask
Colour: 10Y 9/6
Nose: Apple strudel, cedar, perfume, pear nectar, cumin
Nice butter and apple on the nose. Actually that’s the vast majority of the nose. It takes some time, however it goes from “tons of apple strudel” to “odd floral notes with earth and heat.”
Taste: Peat, apple cider/juice, beef Wellington
“Unbalanced”. I ended up writing that over and over. While being at a cabin with my young wife and son. I had stopped drinking.
Wait, no. That was another time where I was talking to a bartender. This time I just wrote down that this wasn’t blowing my mind. It was all over the place. Simple. Lots of earth, and lots of apple. The peat tastes younger than the dram is.
Finish: Cinnamon, mushroom, lime pulp, cumin, apple juice
Finish is all spice, acidity, and more apple juice. Light, not much going on.
Conclusion: Time didn’t help this one. I’ll go out on a limb here: The whisky was put in the cask with a hope that the peat and sherry would make… well a peated sherry whisky. We know people love those.
So in hopes of making another unicorn which we’ll all love, they go for it. And like all whiskies, there’s a chance that it doesn’t work. Maybe the cask isn’t great. Maybe they didn’t peat it correctly. Maybe it wasn’t stored correctly. Maybe the temperature wasn’t perfect.
None the less, they wait. And eventually they have to use it or lose it. Someone else thinks “Hey, peat and sherry at cask strength? Maybe it’ll work”. So they bottle it.
Is it amazing? No. You gotta take risks. It smells like apples, tastes like apple juice, and that doesn’t do it for me. I didn’t hate it, but I was glad I only bought a sample.
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Archive 2001 is the next up. It was brought to my attention due to the hype. The hype comes from it being the oldest Port Charlotte (at the time of bottling). At 15 years old, people were wondering where Port Charlotte could go.
To put it another way: We’ve all started with younger whiskies (except xile_). We tried young peated whiskies, and then, for some of us, tried much older ones, and found a completely different dram.
We were lucky. Therefore when this was announced, everyone expected a similar situation. And in some cases this was sold out within 50 minutes. Because we’re the reason that we can’t have nice things.
Ex-bourbon, oldest possible whisky from a quality maker of whisky, and a single cask? I didn’t even think about it. Until xile_ handed me a sample since he heard I had been looking into Port Charlotte.
So is the hype worth it? Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Number: 276
Cask Type: Refill Bourbon Barrel
Number of Bottles: 210
Colour: 5Y 8/8
Nose: Cocoa, lemon pepper, fresh bread, turnip/ginger root
Starting to develop some of those chocolate notes that I love in old peated whiskies. Also has this wonderful fresh bread note that I attribute with happiness.
Carbs are love.
Taste: Cocoa, smoke, cucumber, rosemary, M&Ms
More cocoa. An odd vegetal part, like having water that has had cucumber in it. Some sweetness to it. Comes off as M&Ms to me with water.
Finish: Smoke, iodine, lemongrass, oak, pear, sweetheart tarts
Has more sweetness to it, however you’ll have to dive in to find it. Honestly water helped here as well. You need water for this dram, is what I’m saying.
Conclusion: Needs water. Badly. It comes alive with water. It seems like a water of space without it. Seriously, my score jumped up and down more than little kids left out with a pile of Twizzlers.
Once water was added, the real whisky began. I can see why people enjoy these. Why people love the different flavours, the different cocoas and chocolate notes. What happens when peat is given time to sit in ex-bourbon for a long time.
I can also see what can come from these. That said, my blind spot with 15 year old whiskies is evident. I didn’t get the love others had for this one. It was tasty. I even thing you should read other reviews to get a better idea of it.
Just not my thing.
Scotch reviews #744-746, Islay reviews #174-176, Whisky Network reviews #1228-1230