Port Charlotte `Prediction’

Back in February 2012, Mrs dramstats and I took a pilgrimage to the holy land. Round the peninsula to Kennacraig and then on the ferry to the magical island of ISLAY!

As part of this trip we toured Bruichladdich distillery. What a fantastic tour! I recommend anyone visiting Islay must journey on the road around Loch Indall from Bowmore and pay a visit to Bruichalddich.

They employ so many people, and this strikes you immediately. Even though we were the only one booked on the tour, the car park was full! Most of the machinery in there is old. Really old. Some of it original. It is fascinating to watch whisky made “the old fashioned way” so to speak with so many things done by hand. We actually met a few workers on our tour, and they were happy to stop and chat with us, they let us taste the wash (:) ) and generally gave the impression of a friendly and fun place to work.

Some of the features of this tour will appear in future reviews of Laddie products. One of my favourites was the bottling hall. A first bottling hall tour for me!

Onto the post tour tasting. There, waiting for us, was a dram each of the Laddie ten. I explained I had a bottle of this, (the review is here). The tour guide, offered us a few more drams…

I got to try PC9, The Organic, Chardonnay finish (boy I wish I could have afforded that baby), Dark art II, and the latest (in Feb12) Octomore. I was tempted by the port charlotte when I was handed another sample (bear in mind it’s 11.30am), this was for the current “Valinch”.

The “Valinch” series is a bottle your own from the cask series, like the Aberlour I reviewed a couple of days ago. This one, Jim Mcewan had called “Port Charlotte Prediction” and was supposed to be a precursor to PC10. He took 9 year old Port Charlotte and finished it for 6 months in a Chateau la tour cask. This was supposed to be a prediction for what PC10 would taste like. I tasted, I bought! Here are the dramstats:

  • ABV 63.5%
  • 9.5 years
  • Finish: Chateaux la tour for 6 months

Nose: Sweet BBQ sauce, fruity, lots of smoke. Underneath that classic balloons dipped in natural yogurt `Bruichladdich note’. There is also a vegetal, almost like unmalted barley, note. With water, cured meat (think pancetta) comes to the fore with raspberry jam in the background. Excellent.

Palate: Smokey brown sauce/BBQ blend, chilli, brown sugar. This needs water! Water added brings red grape, raspberry bakewell, almond, honey glazed ham, bacon and maple syrup (like served at breakfast in the states).

Finish: Long smoked paprika, smokey bacon in maple syrup.

Verdict: Epic! If this is the prediction, sign me up for 2 bottles of PC10 immediately. If the PC10 lives up to this prediction, Port charlotte will be the new dramstats favourite Islay!

Dram review: Bruichladdich, The Laddie Ten

Time for my first dram review, and I thought long and hard about what to choose. In the end, I wanted a positive review from a great distillery at a good price, and so I chose Bruichladdich and their new entry level malt, “The Laddie Ten”.

Bruichladdich is one of my favourite distilleries, and Mrs Dramstats and I had a great tour there Feb 2012 (a separate post will appear about that at some point). I bought the Laddie Ten before our Islay trip. Inspired by the story of Bruichladdich and having willed them to make it to 10 years, I had to support them and get a bottle as soon as it came out. What I like about Bruichladdich is the way they employ lots of people on the island and the way they defy the industry by stating that no colouring has been added (more on this in future posts). They also make pretty good whisky.

As you can see from the picture, I’ve had quite a lot of this bottle, so I’m very familiar with it. Before giving my notes, it is worth a comment on the take over and a nod to their departed chairman, Mark Reynier. Bruichladdich were recently taken over by French company Remy and Mark has left the company. He did an amazing job resurrecting this distillery and fans like me are waiting and hoping that Remy continue in the traditions that he has started. I.e. as a major employer on Islay and as a distillery that continues to bottle at 46%, without chill filtration and without caramel, and continues to say so on the bottle!

Anyway, without further ado, here are the dramstats:

Bruichladdich: The Laddie Ten.

  • Age: 10
  • ABV 46%
  • Price £31.67

Nose: Vanilla, raspberry jam, cherry bakewell, blackcurrent, bramble crumble and custard, ‘that Bruichladdich note’ of sea spray and balloons dipped in natural yogurt. Water develops the crumble and dark fruit notes.

Palate: Where is the fruit from the nose? Werthers original butterscotch, sweet barley and an alcohol burn. Water brings more barley and reduces the burn. The crumble note from the nose creeps in, but there is no fruit!

Finish: Drying oak and long for an entry level bottling. Water brings out vanilla and cream with a hint of the fruit from the nose before drying oak.

Verdict: For the entry to the range it is very complex, particularly on the nose. Lots of fruit and interesting notes to find. The palate seems not to match the nose, but this only adds to the intrigue. The finish is long for a 10 year old. At the price it is a great dram. Not an easy one, but well worthwhile. I would buy this again, and at this price, without hesitation!