Over a year ago, we had two different evenings exploring whiskies from Bruichladdich… doing a peat progression from no peat to peat to super turbo charged peat. At the time, I specifically remembered how the Cognac Cask surprised, given it was a different cask that the usual ex-bourbon, with an interesting inter-play with the peaty Port Charlotte style.
So when planning my special evening with the Port Charlotte Micro-Provenance 5 trio, I thought of having a ‘starter’ to push our palates into the smoky mode. My logic was this would better enable us to discern nuances in the trio, past the peat. Picking up another duty free bottle of the Cognac Cask seemed a perfect fit, in keeping with the cask theme.
I began our session warning my fellow tasters that this was the ‘appetizer’ before the main course. And while we sampled blind, I shared all four were from the same distillery and started at the same ppm – 40 in case you were wondering – but from there diverged.
Only after we sampled all four whiskies blind did they get revealed – one by one – after a round of trying to “guess” what cask magic produced that particular single malt.
Here is what we thought of the Cognac Cask…
Port Charlotte 8 year 2007 CC:01 57.8%
- Colour – Coppery gold
- Nose – Sour lemon, apricot, dark chocolate, cinnamon, a sharp “snuff” like quality, pungent like wasabi peas… as it settled down, the bite of tobacco sweetened, with more of the fruit coming to the fore, eventually taking on a chocolate creme
- Palate – Strong cognac, bitter, dusty, rock salt, despite the almost brash aromas, the flavours were much less phenolic
- Finish – Chilli, lightly bitter
- Water – Makes it sweet, beginning with an explosion of pepper of all types – from black pepper to cayenne – settling into a cinnamon sweetness
This one needs time… when we returned to it, we discovered creme brule, a delicious custard, vanilla baked goods quality. Delicious!
The speculation began…
- Thoughts of alcohol strength hovered around 48%… a far cry from the actual 57.8%
- As for cask type? It was split between ex bourbon, virgin American oak to one lone voice wondering if it may have a French wine twist… none guessed it could be a Cognac cask
It turned out to be the perfect “kick start”. The bolder peat in this Port Charlotte cleared the path to focus on the more subtle peat of the MP5 trio.
Port Charlotte MP5 Single Casks:
- Port Charlotte MP5 10 year (2005/2016) Bourbon / Bordeaux Cask #0013 59.9%
- Port Charlotte MP5 10 year (2005/2016) Fresh Bourbon Cask #1999 56.9%
- Port Charlotte MP5 10 year (2005/2016) Virgin Oak Cask #0005 63.5%
And what did we try last year? Our Bruichladdich peat progression evenings featured:
- No Peat – The Classic Laddie 50% vs The Laddie Eight 50%
- No Peat – Bere Barley 2008 50%
- Heavy Peat – Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01 57.8%
- Heavy Peat – Port Charlotte 12 Oileanach Furachail 58.7%
- Insanely Heavy Peat – Octomore 07.2 5 years 208 PPM 58.5%
- Insanely Heavy Peat – Octomore 07.1 5 years 208 PPM 59.5%
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