Last month, just a few days after releasing online exclusive Port Charlotte 16 Year Old for the virtual Fèis Ìle festival, came the next member in the PC cask exploration series, the Port Charlotte OLC:01.
We had MC:01 and MRC:01 (Marsala and Bordeaux respectively) and now comes the OLC:01 a 9 Year Old Port Charlotte which was distilled in 2010 and bottled earlier this year after being finished in Oloroso Hogsheads.
This is a major release with 30,000 bottles (at 55.1%) in circulation so it’s wildly available if you want to buy one after reading the review.
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte OLC:01 (55.1%, £90/€96.90)
Nose: Potent and lively, sweet smoke drifts, peat, dried red berries, vanilla, lactic note that disappeared after a few minutes, honey. After left to rest for a few minutes some smoked meat, cured meat, also maltiness and if you wield some wild imagination you could smell there haggis in berries sauce. After a few more minutes more sherry sweetness, more dried fruits and it’s nicely balanced. With a few drops of water the peat is tamed and there’s even more sweet fruits. Continue reading
Is it time to review some Feis Ile 2019 whiskies? Sure it is, there’s no official season to review specific whiskies…
Let’s start with an indie bottling for Feis Ile 2019 done by Dramfool and it’s a 14 Year Old Port Charlotte in first fill Sherry hogshead which was personally selected for Ian Gray (the Scottish artist) by Jim McEwan (back when Jim was still at Bruichladdich).
299 bottles at 53.4% were produced from this cask
Dramfool Port Charlotte 14 Year Old Feis Ile 2019 (53.4%, £135)
Nose: Sweet and leathery, dried sour and sweet berries and plums (mirabelles and purple), cigar leaves, cherries filled chocolate, earthy peat, smoke. Wt dark chocolate, old library shelves, old leather and aged cigar. Continue reading
It’s a very slow Sunday here so I think it’s a good time to review a punchy whisky to wake up the spirit and eventually I settled on some heavily peated whisky. Yes you guessed right – an Octomore. I have a few of those ready to be published so let’s review Octomore 8.4 today. I know it’s not a recent release (we already have the 9.x series out there for a while and the 10.x series coming soon) but since it’s still available out there for purchase, why not?
It’s the x.4 designation and it means that Otomore 8.4 is matured in virgin oak casks. But it’s not so simple or straight forward. Pay attention: 20% were matured in virgin oak casks and 80% were matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks and then finished in second-fill virgin oak but those second-fill casks are in fact the Octomore 7.4 virgin oak casks! So even if it’s 8 years old, it should retain some of the Phenols as the barley was peated to 170ppm and we don’t have 100% turbo charged casks to suck all the Phenols.
Octomore 8.4 (Masterclass) (58.7%, £150/€148)
Nose: Vanilla and lemon, very sweet. Coconut and sweet oak extracts, sweet peat, even a bit aggressive peat. seaside air and saltiness. After a few minutes there’s also sweet smoke, brine, vinegar and spiciness led by cloves and cinnamon. Continue reading
A while ago I’ve posted the new Bruichladdich Black Art 7.1 label over the blog facebook page (right here – I recommend liking and following the page for more content!) and it’s about time I’ll post my review for the previous member in the series, the Black Art 6.1 which was released last year.
As usual, we don’t know anything about the casks used to create the Black Art whisky (a tradition starting back with the first Black Art created by Jim Mcewan) but we do know it uses wine casks and that 18,000 bottles at 46.9% were released to the market.
Bruichladdich Black Art 6.1 1990 26 Year Old (46.9%, £290/€269,95)
Nose: Soft and rich, winey with tannins, raisins and figs, dried red fruit with lots of blackberries, almonds and hazelnuts chocolate, honey and nutmeg, very velvety. Continue reading
The peated Port Charlotte whisky (from Bruichladdich distillery) is a fan favorite, very much liked just like the ultra-peated Octomores. I’ve had my share of previous official Port Charlotte limited editions and of course many independent bottlings (which I must add that many of them are excellent) But I was looking forward this kind of release, a core line-up release.
This Port Charlotte 10 Year Old was released last May and is the first on-going and permanent release of age-statement carrying Port Charlotte bottling and while I’m late in reviewing it, it kinda beat the alternative which is finishing the bottle without publishing a review.
Port Charlotte 10 Year Old Heavily Peated (50%, £48.95/€49,99)
Nose: Very smoky, blobs of vanilla and honey, then comes the BBQ meat with dripping sauce and coal smoke. The nose is quite sweet with sweet earthy peat and some sweetened bread. Greenery and fruitiness blossoms after a short while and smoke becomes drier. Continue reading
Along with the 2011 Octomore reviewed yesterday, Dramfool also bottled a 2011 Port Charlotte for (Islay Whisky Festival 2018 (Also known as Feis Ile).
You may ask yourself how is it a 15 Year old and not 16/17 Year old, but that Ex-bourbon Hogshead (#0847) was in fact bottled December 2016 by previous owner before Dramfool snagged them a yeat later to be released now.
The hogshead yielded 195 bottles at 58.3%, no chill-filtered and natural colored.
Port Charlotte 2001 15 Year Old Dramfool (58.3%, £95)
Nose: Sweet peat (and lactic at first), vanilla and a dash of honey, sweet cured white fish meat, lots of salt. With water it opens up, some herbs, greener fruits and smoke. The peat is strong in this one. Continue reading
It’s really been a long time without an Octomore review on here, ah? A whole month has passed! 🙂
Truthfully I didn’t think another Octomore review will come out so soon but we’re closing on Feis Ile 2018 and some interesting Islay whiskys pop out.
Today I’m checking out a new Octomore from Dramfool, a Scottish independent bottler, released for Islay Whisky Festival 2018 which is also known as Feis Ile 2018 but the ‘Feis Ile’ term is now trademarked so Islay Whisky Festival it is in our case.
It’s a 150 ppm 6 year old Octomore (2011 vintage) from ex-bourbon Hogshead #4552/2011 that was filled for Simon Coughlin, Bruichladdich CEO at the time. Total of 253 bottles were produced from that Hogshead at a whopping 62%.
Octomore 2011 6 Year Old Dramfool (Islay Festival 2018) (62%, £160)
Nose: Crisp and well defined, sweet vanilla, sweet peat, It’s sweet but it’s not cloying or a dominating sweetness. Instead it’s more like gentle cake sugar icing sweetness. No smoke so far, but it does gets fruity after a few minutes: apricots with hints of floral perfume . With a few drops of water it’s on a new level of fruitiness with more apricots, green mango and papaya and becomes more perfumey. Continue reading
After being a bit distracted by the Old Pulteney 2004 we’re back at some more Octomores and today we’re checking Octomore 8.3.
Unlike Octomore 8.1 and Octomore 8.2, Octomore 8.3 is only 5 year old which is more or less in line with previous Octomore generations. The barley was grown in a single field at Octomore farm (Bruichladdich Distillery neighbors) and 56% of the whisky was matured in ex-Bourbon casks and 44% matured in European oak casks. 18,000 bottles at 61.2% were produced.
The 309 PPM (Phenols per million) figure for Octomore 8.3 is mightly impressive, and probably holds the unofficial Guinness world record for the peatiest barley, but we do know that the PPM level drops rapidly from the malted barley stage to the final product (depending on distillation, barrels, etc). Nevertheless, I guess we still should expect heavy influence in the whisky so let’s check it out.
Octomore 8.3 Masterclass (61.2%, £156.55/€189,95)
Nose: Malt, damp peat bomb, thick and dense heather honey with little vanilla. Salt and meat. Vinegar (like pickles in vinegar), overripe pears and peaches, cream. With water: the intensity goes down and we get some wood smoke, chocolate and more pears and peaches. Continue reading
I reviewed Octomore 8.1 last week but I can’t really stop here so let’s head on to the next one in the series – Octomore 8.2.
Just like Octomore 8.1, it’s 100% Scottish barley peated to 167 ppm level and carries an 8 year old age statement.
The x.2 suffix in the series is reserved for wine maturation or finish, but this year it’s kind of extreme as the casks composition is complex. At first, the Octomore spirit spent six years in one of three different types of wine casks (all second fill casks):
- French Mourvedre
- Austrian sweet wines
- French Sauternes
And then finished (or as Bruichladdich call it: ACEd) in fresh Amarone casks for additional two years. From those Amarone casks, 36,000 were produced for the travel retail shops.
Octomore 8.2 Masterclass (58.4%, ~€159.90)
Nose: Sweet malt and sweet red wine, tannins, nuts, lactic, moss, big time leather- new shoe leather and smoked leather. Red gooseberry, freshly cut wet peat. After a few minutes, perfume, bay leaves, cloves, and more and more leather. Continue reading
Currently we’re having here a short spell of rainy days and a bit colder weather (unfortunately just a bit) which is refreshing to have in April after yet another too dry winter. Let’s use the occasion to check out a heavily peated whisky, Bruichladdich Octomore 8.1.
This Octomore 8.1 is peated to 167 ppm level, was distilled in 2008 using only Scottish barley. The casks used for this expressions are all first fill american oak casks. According to Bruichladdich casks from Buffalo Trace, Clermont Springs, Four Roses, Heaven Hill & Jack Daniels were used here and the long list explains how 42,000 bottles were made.
Octomore 8.1 Masterclass (Scottish Barley) (59.3%, £109)
Nose: Soft smoke, creamy with vanilla and fruitiness, green melon (that weakens over time), orange orchard, pastry and almonds and more fruit sweetness after a few minutes. Continue reading