Bruichladdich’s Best from Refill American Oak
It’s the beginning of autumn and I’ve been interested more in peated whisky as of late. A nice smoky dram on a cool, crisp evening. Something about this time of year reminds me of my childhood and fond memories around a campfire.
This bottle was a ballot win from Thompson Bros back in July. Of all the bottles that arrived, this was the bottle I was most excited about. Port Charlotte 10 is a very good bottle of scotch. Getting the chance to try something a bit higher age and proof sounded delightful.
Tasted neat in a Laddie Dram glass with 15+ minutes of rest. Dilution added throughout the tasting.
The nose is very floral for an Islay. Jasmine, gardenias, and rose petals. A potpourri and herbal malt. A familiar herbaceous and vegetation aroma of ripening grain fields and corn husks. Aging oak and musty old bookshelves. There is a corn syrup sweetness to it as well. A bright tart berry note is buried under the herbal aromas. Raspberry, cranberry, and a bit of sour cherry. A touch of pink peppercorn. Savory tahini and sesame oil. With water (and after a sip or two), there’s a distinct sweet cocoa powder note. If you’ve ever had a chocolate Halva bar, it brings a sweet and savory element to the nose.
The first sip started off very soft and delicate. The malt came through clearly and the peat, incredibly muted. It’s only after that initial sip goes down does the peat intensity come through. The peat perfumes your olfactories and brings that familiar charcoal, wood fire notes. An earthy, nutty element of hearty walnuts and pecans, kind of like a seeded multi-grain bread. The floral notes are present on the palate as well however less herbal. Lumberyard, kindling, foresty-like flavors. Textiles and fabric. Twine. Industrial. Water brings sweetness but also blooms a kick of heat. Letting this one sit longer was preferred over additional dilution.
Mellow, lingering peaty finish and it’s delicious if a bit delicate. Milk chocolate and sea salt. Cocoa powder in a hot chocolate. A savory element remains as well. It’s not a meaty salinity but that tiny piece of charred gristle on a steak. Red wine reminiscent dry finish with the malt flavor ever present again. Dilution was also not preferred for the finish with the water seemingly doing the opposite of what you’d expect. More barrel char and toasty characteristics but also brings a dry tannic element out.
Not to sound overly harsh on this one but this is an expensive daily or peated warm-up dram.
Don’t get me wrong this is excellent but it feels held back. It lacked some uniqueness that perhaps the Port Charlotte 10’s blend of casks elevates.
This cask brought mostly a faint peaty, cocoa flavor but is missing much of the baking spice notes that would enhance your senses. If it dived more into that meaty salinity I certainly would have enjoyed it more. As it is, however, it lacks something special that makes you return to the bottle over and over again.
A solid bottle of Port Charlotte but you’re left wanting just a bit more.