Friends of Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Cask #975


We're kicking off the week with the oldest Port Charlotte bottled (at the time), for the Friends of Bruichladdich group.

Friends of Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Cask #975

Region: Islay

ABV: 60.0%

Price: £275.00 (500ml)

This release is among the oldest Port Charlotte single casks available. Distilled on 18th December 2001, it was aged for 21 years in a bourbon cask before being bottled on 31st January 2023. A total of 258 bottles were made available.

Nose

On first nosing, we detect seaweed, sea air, limeade, crème brûlée, alongside ash and a hint of bonfire smoke. Upon revisiting, we find cooked porridge oats, damp wood, more sea air, a musty wardrobe, whipped cream, and cashew nuts. There's also sour lemon, Playdoh, burnt twigs, icing sugar, chopped strawberries, and cold butter. It's a lovely nose that we could sit with all day.

Palate

The initial palate offers flavours of cashew nuts, liquorice, caramel, tar, and hay bales, before transitioning to fondant icing, pear, and sugar syrup. A slight bitterness from dark chocolate and a saltiness emerge, complemented by cinnamon spice on the long finish. All the while a light smoke intertwines with these sweeter notes, persisting through to the end of the finish. The mouthfeel is good, very greasy and mouth coating. We’re a little surprised this is 60%.

Nose (with water)

Adding water reveals wardrobe must and more warehouse funk, alongside burnt toffee and dark chocolate. The presence of peat and ash diminishes, making way for aromas of graham crackers, ginger, barley sugars, burnt toast, Manuka honey and most of the pre-dilution notes.

Palate (with water)

When diluted, the dram becomes less spicy but somewhat drier, with a more pronounced hit of dark chocolate. The mouthfeel remains consistent. The finish is also unchanged, with the flavour profile largely retaining its character. However, there is a noticeable introduction of cardamom spice, orange peel, cinder toffee, and Cadbury Crunchie to the mix.

Conclusion

Age has smoothed out the rough edges of this whisky without erasing the essence of its spirit. Comparisons have been drawn by some between these older batches of Port Charlotte and Brora. Although we view this as distinctly its own entity, the similarities are unmistakable. It's a delightful dram that stands its ground, water or no water. We rarely give out such ratings, but this one earns a 9/10 from us.

Score: 9/10

Value

At £275 for a 500ml bottle upon release, this whisky is certainly not cheap. However, it may be seen as a good value by those comparing it to the prices of similar offerings from other bottlers.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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