Dramfool Port Charlotte 2004 & Port Charlotte OLC: 01


Two Port Charlotte releases today as we look at a near impossible to nab bottle from a very well respected IB, and a more readily available OB from Bruichladdich.

Dramfool 43rd Release - Port Charlotte 2004

Region: Islay

ABV: 58.2%

Price: £245

How does Bruce manage to get his hands on these casks? This is a 16yo that was fully matured in a first fill sherry hogshead. It's the oldest Port Charlotte we've tried, having been distilled only a few years after Bruichladdich started distillation for Port Charlotte in 2001.

Nose

Well-fired toast topped with fresh butter and Arbroath smokies, some seaweed, cherry jam, a bonfire at the beach, salted caramel, iodine and dark chocolate. A very pleasant nose with well integrated alcohol and a balance of richness, sweetness and smoke.

Palate

On the palate there’s cigarette ash, heavy peat, wholemeal bread, red berry compote, even more ash and tar. There's a lot of salt and some freshly cracked black pepper too. The sherry notes aren't coming through as prominently as we'd expected, almost being slightly overpowered by the peat smoke. The finish goes on for ... wait for it... still counting .. basically forever, and we're left with a nice salty, charred smokiness long after we've taken a sip.

Nose (with water)

On the reduced nose more dark fruits appear alongside the ever present smoke, there's an oily, buttery note that has appeared too. There's also some herbal notes of thyme and sage that sit alongside an earthy but dry muddiness. Digging a little deeper we can also get some cola and cinnamon.

Palate (with water)

Palate is still very heavy with prominent ash and peat, but the alcohol has been restrained and along with it some of the spicier pepper notes, instead showing sweeter caramel and candied lemon peel. There's also more of an overly charred meat flavour coming through, maybe some burnt char sui pork. Finish is still long and punchy with heaps of smoke and earth.

Conclusion

This is intense, but in a good way, The sherry has left a lasting impression, but in less of a sweet way and more of a deep, rich addition to the heavy char and peat notes of the spirit. If you're a peat fan, we think you'll fall in love with this at first sniff. Maybe a little pricey but top quality spirit and cask management results in a cracking whisky!

Score: 8.5/10


Onto something a little easier to get a hold of…

Port Charlotte OLC: 01

Region: Islay

ABV: 55.1%

Price: £90

Ok, so the spirit for this 9 year old Port Charlotte was distilled in 2010 and matured in a mixture of bourbon, Syrah, and Vin Doux Naturel casks until 2018 when it was vatted and re-casked into first fill sherry hogsheads for 18 months.

Nose

On the nose there’s cranberry, treacle, yeast, cornflakes, light smoke, ash, and a costal sea breeze. Nosing it agin there’s also jam and figs. This is one we suspect you could nose all day and continue to come up with new notes.

Palate

On the palate we’re immediately getting ash and smoke. Behind the peaty notes there’s white sugar syrup, Cadbury caramel chocolate, raisins, dark chocolate, and a little salt. Finish here is reasonable length with ginger spice lingering on the palate.

Nose (with water)

Ok, with water we’re now also getting toffee, apples and coffee beans. The smoke is still there, but it’s not as prominent as it was.

Palate (with water)

Similar to the nose the peat has been subdued by water. We’re now getting sweet caramelised brown sugar, with the sherry notes really standing out along with the sweeter notes. Finish remains medium length.

Conclusion

If you love the port Charlotte peat we’d recommend skipping water with this one. However, if a sweeter dram is your bag then a few drops of aqua is recommended. This isn’t a bad dram, but we can’t but help feel that £90 is just too expensive for this.

Score: 7.5/10

  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

Interested in trying drams like these? We've created the Two Whisky Bros Dram Club to help you get access to high quality, rare whisky by the dram.

You also might be interested in...

SMWS August 2022 Outturn Review
SMWS August 2022 Outturn Review
Find out which bottles are the winners from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's August 2022 Outturn.
Read More
Voodoo The Bloody Sacrifice Batch 001 (Williamson) & Voodoo The Rusty Cauldron Batch 001 (Caol Ila)
Voodoo The Bloody Sacrifice Batch 001 (Williamson) & Voodoo The Rusty Cauldron Batch 001 (Caol Ila)
We take a look at a new independent bottler, Brave New Spirits, and their Voodoo brand bottles. These are undisclosed di
Read More
Spheric Spirits Springbank (1994) Cask #94 & Springbank 8yo Online Tasting Week 2021
Spheric Spirits Springbank (1994) Cask #94 & Springbank 8yo Online Tasting Week 2021
It's a 27 year old full maturation sherry single cask Springbank... we don't need to say anything else. Also included is
Read More

Leave a comment