Bruichladdich PC 12 year 61.1% (Blackadder Raw Cask)

We have another Blackadder Raw Cask whisky… this time from Bruichladdich… or rather more specifically from Port Charlotte.

Port Charlotte 12 year Sherry Cask No 622 (July 2003 / May 2016) 61.1% Blackadder Raw Cask range. Bottle 209/284

  • Nose – Chocolate, dark fruits, what do you want! Smoke, peat, sherry, peppers, earthy, mineral
  • Palate – Outstanding – beyond connoisseur quality, sacred ash, spice, a 3-D fullness, fruits… from orange to dark berries, dry with just the right balance between spice, sweet and a chaser of peat.
  • Finish – Holds, spice, green capsicum, a bourbonesque close… also marvellous
  • Water – Please do! Then wine notes are revealed, much sweeter, brought out the peat, dampened the spice, lots of gorgeous dark fruits, delicious

Had the best qualities of a brash youngster yet the complexity of a more seasoned character. This was clearly no ordinary Port Charlotte… and one we felt privileged to try.

With a bit more patience, it took on an even spicier character – like biting into a green chillies vs our normal experience where spices tame and get subdued over time. I truly wished we had more to try as had the sense that it would have kept evolving and revealing even more dimensions.

It certainly re-sparked by interest in exploring more from Bruichladdich… and Port Charlotte specifically… Here are just a few tried til date:

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Bruichladdich PC 12 Oileanach Furachail 58.7%

Next in our Bruichladdich Peat Progression evening was another bolder peatier Port Charlotte offering with the PC 12 Oileanach Furachail…. peated to 40 PPM and bottled 21 July 2015.

It was sampled in three sessions – initially with the Whisky Ladies then a mini session with two ladies who missed the main evening, followed by our original Mumbai tasting group who had all whiskies completely blind before the reveal.

PC 12 Oileanach Furachail 58.7%

What did the Whisky Ladies think?

  • Nose
    • Much more complex than the CC:01, bursting with character, musty, old leather shoes, yet beyond the tobacco factory was lily
    • Sour, leather, betel nut leaf, old leather polish, black sour cherry, a mechanics garage, quite industrial, then becomes sweet with vanilla, then black peppercorn
  • Palate
    • Super amazingly smooth, well rounded, much more subtle on the palate than one would have anticipated from the nose, absolutely delicious – think spicy smoked chickpeas, dark berries, clove encrusted oranges
    • Musty, sweet, round without a single harsh edge – a contrast from the industrial nose, black pepper, clearly ‘peat’ yet a ‘collaborative peat’ that marries well with the other elements
  • Finish
    • The aftertaste has subtle bitter chocolate with absolutely no burn
    • Long drawn out finish – like having a chunk of spicy red chilli, invites you to introspect
  • Water
    • Bringing out a vegetal quality – think celery root. Not unpleasant but a tinge harsh initially before opening up. Some thought under no circumstances should water be added. Others thought it brought out more…
    • Became initially quite floral on the nose, with fruit, tobacco, a dried potpourri, almost too much spice on the palate til it settles down…

Absolutely beautiful to drink. The palate is truly superb. It is not your standard whisky on the nose – one called it “Stinky feet on the nose but when sipping… I absolutely love it!”

The ladies thought it to be an after dinner whisky, a sociable dram to enjoy with old friends. Without a doubt – this was clearly a “hit!” for many ladies.

Our original underground Mumbai whisky club found the following:

  • Nose – Burnt rubber, sweaty socks, lemon citrus, rotting fruit, car manufacturing unit, fresh leather, burnt dry wood, then apricot… after airing for much longer it was remarkable how the peat settled down and the fruitiness became much more apparent with a chaser of nuts
  • Palate – Starts sweet, then flat, clearly high on spirit, some speculated if there might be a hint of sherry as it had chewy dark berries and slight prune
  • Finish – Bitter cinnamon spice, dum biryani
  • Water – For some, they found it helped bring out a more sophisticated side to this whisky – revealing more complex elements. For others they found it made it more ‘singular’ in an interesting way but with less complexity. One shared that with water it goes from “lust to love”

For the original group, this one was much more industrial. While quite interesting, we had become ‘tuned’ to the sophisticated nuance of the CC:01 that curled around the Port Charlotte character. By contrast the Oileanach Furachail swaggered about with much more ‘in your face’ qualities. With the reveal, we were surprised at how little peat there is compared to its bold peaty character!

What do the folks over at Bruichladdich have to say?

Adam Hannett has been working alongside Jim McEwan since 2006, watching and learning from the legendary distiller. Adam has a special talent, a perceptive nose and a rare ability to analyse and objectify sensory experience. One day the ultimate responsibility for this precious spirit will rest on his shoulders. Here we acknowledge Adam and his ongoing journey with Jim. “Oileanach furachail”.

  • Character – A heavyweight Islay – rich, smokey and smooth.
  • Colour – Polished walnut in an autumn sunset.
  • Nose – Opens with bursts of smoke, salt and dark fruit then develops raisins, toffee, sweet oak and ripe plum. Hints of cinnamon spice, polish, candied orange and lemon peels. hazelnut and dates.
  • Palate – Rich and succulent in texture bringing harmony to a spirit of 58.7%. Sherry flavours of date and fig combine with peat smoke to balance honey, lemon and hot toasted oak. Apricot pear and green apple are subtle but the character of our pure spirit cannot be hidden. There have been no shortcuts to get here. Long years in our warehouses on the shores of Loch Indaal have brought out the exceptional qualities of casks sourced from far and wide. Combine this with the influence of fresh salty Islay air and you have a dram of unmistakable character.
  • Finish -You may think it will never end as the smoke lingers releasing touches of liquorice, date and sweet malt. Close your eyes and you are on Islay. As this dram fades you can reflect on another step of your journey and look forward with confidence as there are many more to come.
  • Mood – To be enjoyed when there is time to relax. Throw a few more peats on the fire and settle back in contemplation.

Our Bruichladdich Peat Progression evenings also featured:

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Bruichladdich PC 2007 CC:01 8 years 57.8%

Next in our Bruichladdich Peat Progression evening was introduction to the peatier Port Charlotte line with the 2007 Cognac Cask 8 year…. their first experiment with aging completely in French Oak that previously held cognac.

For the Whisky Ladies, this wasn’t our first tryst with a whisky matured in a cognac cask – just a few months earlier we enjoyed the delightful Brenne. For the original tasting club, this was the 1st that I could recall of sampling together a whisky matured in a cognac cask.

The whisky was sampled in three sessions – initially with the Whisky Ladies then a mini session with two ladies who missed followed by our original Mumbai tasting group who had all whiskies completely blind before the reveal.

Bruichladdich PC 2007 CC:01 8 years 57.8%

What did the Whisky Ladies think?

  • Nose
    • Peat, black forest ham, pine, an organic natural quality
    • Bacon, hickory, with a woodsy quality, then smooth apricot, subtle liquorice
  • Palate
    • OMG peat! Woodsy, cigar chomping but not in an overwhelming way at all
    • Smooth, oily with prunes, complex
  • Finish
    • A bit strange or off at first, after the initial ashtray, settled in
    • Bitter, sweet underneath the peat, long drawn out
  • Water
    • With water, cherries were added to the mix. Dampening the forest fire, making it much more approachable, brought out the iron minerals, like entering a wet cave
    • Almond nougat, spice, prunes, raisins, dusty musty fur coat from a teak closet on the nose, whereas became a fruitcake on the palate, and an incredibly long drawn out cinnamon sweet finish – much more subtle than before yet lingers in a lovely way

There was initially a sense of this being like a wilder Caol Ila. Yet oddly not quite balanced. One commented that it was “Really good to look at but…” 

Whereas the 2nd tasting with just two whisky ladies found this to be more of a “nostalgic ‘character’ whisky” – it was not in the least unbalanced and one that grows on you more and more.

What was clear is that this was no sweet civilized Brenne gently matured in a Cognac cask, instead the underlying sea spray and peat of the Port Charlotte came to the fore for an interesting interplay with Cognac!

And our original underground Mumbai whisky club?

  • Nose – A happy hello to peat! Hamond soap, pork bacon, rum sweet, dampened smoke like you doused water on a campfire, wet mud, a dispensary, then a peak of perfume beneath the peat, become sweeter and sweeter, taking on a jasmine or lily quality… as it kept evolving different elements emerged from blue cheese to apricots to an incredibly sweet sticky toffee
  • Palate – Unexpectedly robust, yet equally silky smooth, clearly peat with a rounded tar quality, lots of body, character, chewy, almost buttery, many layers with spice, chilli chocolate, meaty, leather
  • Finish – Very long big oily finish that just doesn’t disappear
  • Water – Some debate on this – for some it brought out more sweet, rancio qualities yet when contrasting those with water and those without – we found without water the whisky continued to evolve its character in a beautiful way whereas the one with water arrested it at that stage

The most remarkable element of this whisky was how it simply kept evolving… we gave time to the experience and the more we spent with it the more we appreciated its unique qualities. This was clearly a ‘non-veg’ kind of whisky… one to enjoy as an after dinner drink with a cigar. One gent asked if he could get away with calling it quite a ‘masculine’ whisky yet it had a sophisticated quality too.

Overall I was thoroughly impressed with how this particular whisky transformed… it is certainly  one I would recommend not rushing and possibly deliberately letting it oxidate just a bit. The layers and complexity that revealed itself in the 3rd tasting was far superior to the experience freshly opened.

What do the folks over at Bruichladdich have to say?

As with every Port Charlotte the starting point is rich, elegant and thought-provoking spirit. High-provenance, smoky, heavily peated barley married to our slow, Victorian, trickle distillation delivers power with finesse. Here, this fascinating spirit has been matured full term in casks of finest French oak [Quercus robur]. They previously held one of the greatest Eau de Vie, from the western Cognac region. The salt spray of Islay combines with peat smoke to vie with the toasted oak and lemon barley sugar flavours of the wood to give a complex and unbelievably rewarding dram.

  • Character – It’s Port Charlotte, but not as we know it. the spirit of adventure is alive with a wonderful marriage of Port Charlotte spirit with its classic Islay DNA and truly exceptional casks from the heart of France.
  • Colour – Rose gold.
  • Nose – The DNA is Islay. Peat smoke and salt spray collide with the fruit and complexity of our classic spirit. poached pears, vanilla fudge and sweet apricots. Toasted oak and lemon barley sugar notes rise from the glass as it warms in your hand. As it breathes the whisky will release festive, warming aromas of cinnamon, ginger and more rich vanilla.
  • Palate – Irresistibly complex. This dram has layer upon layer of subtle fruit flavours so characteristic of our spirit wrapped comfortingly in the blanket of peat smoke. Yet there is a new dimension to this next release of Port Charlotte. A depth of character that comes from the years of maturation in ex cognac barrels. We have watched the spirit mature slowly over the last eight years to become a beguiling spirit that shows our spirit of curiosity and adventure is alive and well. This spirit has taken us down many paths and this particular journey has come to fruition with a spirit that is a joy to taste. The wonderful french oak gives vanilla and spice and has brought this heavily peated Islay spirit to maturity with a class and finesse beyond its years. The fruit is rich and sweet – apples apricots and plums – as is the barley sugar and lemon honey notes that reassure you this is an Islay spirit matured in our warehouses under our watchful eye.
  • Finish – This whisky stays on your mind for longer than your palate and it stays on your palate for an age. Floral heather honey, zesty lemon and a nutty smoothness settle with the peat smoke that is always last to leave you. A truly astonishing whisky.

Our Peat Progression evenings also featured:

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A Bruichladdich Peat Progression…

This was an evening much awaited! Planned back in early 2016 initially for January 2017 then postponed to May 2017… To say I was rather impatient waiting for this session is a bit of an understatement!

Now normally, we prefer to keep our sampling to 3 whiskies… however the idea of sampling two unpeated, two peated and two super turbo peated from the same distillery was impossible to resist! Particularly if that distillery happened to be Bruichladdich.

Our Whisky Ladies are made of sterner stuff and have proven we are up to the challenge! Hence the ‘birth’ of the Bruichladdich “Peat Progression”  evening…

As all but the Classic Laddie and Octomore 7.1 were my bottles, I decided to share with our original underground group too – just to contrast and compare what the Whisky Ladies thought vs another Mumbai malt club!

Then one our ‘whisky mules’ made his way to India just in time to substitute The Laddie Eight for The Classic Laddie for the original club’s line up…

Which meant the Whisky Ladies experience was with freshly opened bottles (except the 7.1) whereas the original club’s sampling was from open bottles (except The Laddie Eight) – which does change the whisky as it starts to oxidate even with a ‘vacu-vin’ trick to slow down the process.

Added to the mix was a follow-up tasting with two Whisky Ladies who could not make it to the main event but were not willing to be left behind our whisky adventures!

The tasting notes tell you as much about the whisky tasting sessions as they do about the whisky itself!!

Other Bruichladdich’s sampled include:

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The Single Cask, Singapore

Let’s face it – whisky in Singapore is expensive. However the range of spirits available vs  my other usual haunts like Jakarta and Mumbai, makes it a favourite spot to try something new and typically pick up an overpriced bottle or two.

So I’m also always seeking out another “watering hole” to whet my whistle and expand my tasting horizons…

Enter The Single Cask at Chjimes…

My whisky tasting companion and I were considering a few different whisky flights, veering towards something lighter and more nuanced. We riffled through page after page of suggested flights and whisky options. Our eyes wandered over the shelves displaying whiskies from near and far.

Then our friendly neighbourhood fellow whisky blogger cum bartender (Brendan Pillai of WhiskyMate) brought out a Bruichladdich Port Charlotte trio for a sniff! Immediately our mood shifted to a peatier predilection…

Our attention was captured by a particular Islay flight that contained names new to us. Now, lest you think any of these are distilleries, these are independent bottlers selecting casks from Islay distilleries, keeping the original whisky unspoken.

This seems to be a growing trend to keep promiscuous single malt drinkers engaged! Tease them without telling the distillery so they are tempted to try and the guess! Yeah… we fell for it too… I like to call it it the “Whisky Guessing Game!

What did we try? Check out what ultimately caught our fancy

The Single Cask is located at 01-25 Chijmes Caldwell House, 30 Victoria Street, Singapore 187996 / / +65 6837 0953

PS – They also have an online store and no, this was NOT a sponsored post! 🙂

Other Singapore whisky joints:

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