Review 2017-010 «Specifics» Single malt • Bottled in 2014 • 58.7% Alcohol • Matured for 12 years in bourbon and sherry casks • Non-chill filtered • Natural coloured • Bruichladdich (owned by Rémy Cointreau) • Rhinns of Islay • Scotland • Limited availability (undisclosed number of bottles) • Still available (price are rising(!), currently ±€116) • Whiskybase #63330
STORY. Apparently the title means “attentive (furachail) student (oileneach), and refers Adam Hannett (‘the student’), who had been working with master distiller Jim McEwan, and was going to continue his works after his retirement. It is a twelve-year-old bottling, matured in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks, cask strength, and (obviously) heavily peated.
APPEARANCE. Transparent and informative design, colour of the contents is reddish golden brown and is both bourbon and sherry coloured.
NOSE. Oh yes, it is strong and oily. The sherry influence is clear with old polished wood, dark fruits and leather, but the bourbon-y side is also present. All this is covered in a thick layer of pungent peat smoke. There are hints of cigar smoke, some cigarettes, and ashtrays. Then Peach eau-de-vie, and the Bruichladdich special, pineapple, which in the Port Charlotte releases is always smoked. There is some coal, more oils, and some freshly painted wood. (water) Everything is more integrated. A mix of raisins, smoked plums, and canned pineapples along with toffee, bourbon (when are those peated bourbons finally released?) and walnut oil. It is very viscous, and there are (yes, Serge) olives. Then more cigarettes, coal, and other smoky things. The finish is extensive on oily nuts and marinated olives.
TASTE. This is heavy like black oil (like the name suggests?). No idea how that tastes, but it I can image it could be like this. Smoked olive oil, coal and cigarettes are all there. No sherry yet, but that may come. (water) The pungent smoke remains on in the forefront, but behind that are beautiful notes of dark fruits, like blue berries and in particular blackberries, roasted nuts, prickling coke, and smoked toffee. This reminds me of some heavy rums (Bellevue springs into mind). Deep as the black of the night. This is just lovely.
VERDICT. Well, it looks like the young chap has learned his skills well. Did he put all his lessons at once into this bottling? Let’s hope he held some of his magic back for future bottlings. Anyway, the price is not that cheap (nowadays) but this might very well be worth it. My favourite Port Charlotte so far (by far) and I should have tasted it much earlier! …I am currently browsing for available and payable bottle.
Recommended for whisky drinkers that like the heavy style.
Thanks to Mike for the sample (I loved it)!
What others say
- @Whiskybase: Mean score of 88.24 (301 votes)
- @Whiskyisrael.co.il: “If you’re looking for maturity, this is your pick for sure!” Score: 90/100
- @Thewhiskyphiles.com: “Filling and full-bodied, the Port Charlotte PC12 is one to savour!” Score: 88/100
- @Somersetwhisky.com: “PC just seems to get better and better with age, I can’t wait to see what’s yet to come!”
- @Whiskyisrael.co.il: “A very good Port Charlotte with a lovely amount of sherry influence. The subtle amount of sulphur actually adds to the whisky, instead of subtracting.” Score: 88/100