So picture this: You’re sitting at your desk, getting work done. You enjoy your job enough and making good time. My phone goes off, and there’s a ton of pictures. A friend of mine, let’s call him distillasian, is on Islay. And while I’m having a coffee with work, he’s meeting Dionysus, based on his excitement.
Well, I elaborate. He’s excited. He’s tasting something at the moment. He’s had a few cask strength whiskies, his wife is driving and being super supportive. But something’s stuck out. A cask end is sent to us, and he’s tasted Athena’s sweet dew sweat. Again, my words, just trying to convey how much he enjoyed the whisky. EDIT: He shared a sample with me later, and while nice, it’s mostly just a crazy amped up version of the below.
We ask about it, and it turns out they are at Bruichladdich, and he’s tried one from an ex-red wine cask from Mouton Rothchild.
Jump ahead a few months. There’s a new release out, Bruichladdich Port Charlotte MRC:01, part of their Colon number series (again, my name, not theirs). We all wonder if this is the same one.
A quick check on the age says no. But we didn’t know that at the time. Thus we sourced some bottles, had some samples, and generally got silly.
But how did the whisky taste? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Stated Age: 7-years-old
Cask Type: Ex-Wine Casks from Bordeaux Mouton Rothchild (Red Wine)
Number of bottles: 8,000
Colour: 2.5Y 8/10
Nose: Cherries, tobacco, cinnamon, peach, anise, mulch, orange, mint, algae Immediately starts hitting you left and right with flavours. Rich cherries, spices, mulch, acidity/sweets, all at once. It’s hard to really describe. Very interesting for a 7-year-old whisky. Nothing on the nose has combined to make something more complex (save the tobacco, I guess, however as a non-smoker I have a hard time explaining which tobacco… maybe a fruity/spicy one?).
Taste: Cocoa, BBQ sauce, leather, brown sugar, grapefruit, anise, grass
The taste follows closer to that tried and true Port Charlotte ideal. Bit of spice, nice amounts of smoke, good molasses flavour. This one is a bit more acidic than others.
Finish: Herbal, caramel, brine, chocolate, smoked chicken, cinnamon candy
The finish is the complex mix from the taste added to that crazy amount of flavours of the finish.
Side note: Bruichladdich has this method of making whiskies that just throw a busload of flavours at you. This works again.
Conclusion; Wow. Just, wow. Look I’ll be honest: I didn’t expect it to be this good. I bought Port Charlotte MC:01 instead. I frankly don’t hold much believe that great wineries/distilleries make great casks, no matter what. Add to that the amazing whisky was still on the Bruichladdich tour, and I mostly was like… oh well.
And then I tried it. The nose is a ton of interesting notes, all at once, constantly changing. The taste is everything I expect from a good Port Charlotte, but with acidity. And if you’ve ever added nice acid to your food, then you’ll understand why that’s great.
The finish is a perfect balance and a bunch of chocolate.
This is all the elements of an amazing whisky. There’s complexity for years, not many bad flavours, and it’s just a great dram to have. Try it if you haven’t, or get your hands on some if you can.
Scotch review #1115, Islay review #298, Whisky review #1732