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!