Archive for PC7

I Got My PC7!

I’m still afflicted with a cold, so my taste buds won’t appreciate the subtleties when I do a vertical tasting of the PC5, PC6 then PC7. I’ll give it at least a week, presuming I don’t pick up any more germs on this trip.

For my own records, here are “just the facts” for the Port Charlotte range so far:

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 5yr

  • Name: Evolution
  • ABV: 63.5% (cask strength)

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 6yr

  • Name: Cuairt-Beatha (in English: “Walk of Life”)
  • ABV: 61.6% (cask strength)

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 7yr

  • Name: Sin an Doigh Ileach (in English: “It’s the Islay way, and may it never change”)
  • ABV: 61.0% (cask strength)

I was talking to my liquor supplier (Ken Chalmers at Beltramo’s) who told me he heard that the PC7 wasn’t quite as good as the PC6. The few online reviews indicate that it’s a very good dram (well, maybe it’s indeed not quite as good: The PC6 was spectacular, after all!). Ken hasn’t had the PC7 yet, so maybe I’ll share some of mine with him.

I’d be curious to see what Jim Murray thought of it, since he really liked the PC6 but I can’t find out until the 2010 Whisky Bible is available in the USA. 😦 I’m toying with the idea of ordering a signed copy of the Whisky Bible, direct from the UK, but that would almost double the cost. Worth it? Dunno…. Jim Murray’s signature is free (of course!), but the £10.99 price (about $18) — plus shipping — is much more than the cost in dollars, probably $16. And I don’t pay for shipping since I am a member of Amazon Prime.

Finally, the word on the street still is that the PC8 will be the last of these limited release annual bottlings of Port Charlotte. I predict that the Port Charlotte expression will initially be an 8yr and will be in regular ongoing production. I expect that the folks at Bruichladdich will hold back some of each year’s production for experimentation and aging beyond 8 years. That’s just based on my understanding of their history and their penchant for experimentation. Given the enthusiastic response to Port Charlotte so far, and given the success of the renewed brand, I expect great things.

WhiskyFest San Francisco 2009

I got to experience a few new-ish Bruichladdich expressions that I have written about but never tasted. I have to say that I really loved the Resurrection 2001 dram. It was a well-balanced expression and I find the range of whiskies that Bruichladdich produces to be a continual source of amazement. This is the first (I think) product since the new owners acquired the distillery in 2001. The Port Charlotte range also dates from that time frame, and I’m not sure which came first.

I also had the 16yr “First Growth” Series – A and B. They are very different! The effect of the wood on the whiskies is very unique. I believe that all these started out as 16yrs in ex-Bourbon barrels and then were migrated to the appropriate ex-burgundy casks. These were not as fruity or sweet as Sherried whiskies, but were wonderful nonetheless. Sadly, the First Growth Series is a bit out of my price range, but I think I’ll be having a Resurrection 2001 (and a Port Charlotte PC7) before the year is out.

Finally, it was a pleasure to meet Andrew Gray, one of the principals at BDC. I’ve exchanged many emails with him in the past and it was nice to personally welcome him to my home town.

More on Whisky Fringe and PC8

Whisky Fringe’s tasting in 2009 included 200 whiskies, and the winner was based on the public’s voting, not that of whisky “experts.” Bruichladdich’s Port Charlotte 8-year-old (“Ar Dùthchas,” or “Land of Our Fathers”) won it all.

I love it that a major whisky tasting happened in a church. Only in Scotland, I guess. 🙂 Come to that, I wonder if I could open a branch of that church here in California?

I was really impressed with PC5 and PC6, and based on Jim Murray’s ratings, I can’t wait to taste PC7, which he gave a very slightly better rating than the PC6. Bruichladdich has to be congratulated for executing so well on resurrecting Port Charlotte. It should be an excellent dram for years to come. For 40 ppm phenol content, it’s very drinkable and exceptionally well balanced (speaking of PC6, the oldest I’ve tasted).

Port Charlotte News

PC7 has been bottled! I’m counting down to its arrival in my corner of California at Beltramo’s. BTW, the name of this expression is “sin an doigh Ileach which is Gaelic for: ‘it’s the Islay way.’ Sales of PC7 will probably be boosted by the fact that PC6 just won two awards in Jim Murray’s 2009 Whisky Bible. Presumably, PC6 sales will also be boosted by the awards. 😉

In other Bruichladdich news, Octomore and X4 are available if you act soon.

Drink Faster!!

I spoke to a distributor that was at the Bruichladdich table at WhiskyFest San Francisco and asked when I’d see the PC7, his opinion is that it won’t appear until the PC6 is nearly gone. So…drink faster, people!

This is being posted from my iPhone on Caltrain 192 heading home. Apologies for any typos and the lack of links.

More reports this weekend as I digest my notes.

Octomore and PC7: Unity

The Whisky Exchange’s blog has an article on Bruichladdich’s latest releases: Octomore (in a new bottle shape!) and Port Charlotte PC7 (named: Unity; NOTE: I found out the week before Thanksgiving that the name is not going to be Unity). I don’t have much to add to the descriptions that they posted, except to note that the bottle design for the Octomore is really striking. The contents, at 131 ppm phenol, deserve an impressive bottle!

I am going to try to order Octomore, but I have doubts as to whether I can get it in California. If I can, I have doubts as to whether I can handle that much peat. WOW!

Port Charlotte

Port Charlotte is:

  • the name of a defunct distillery in Scotland that disappeared around the start of Prohibition
  • the name of a town in Scotland (on the island of Islay) about 2 miles away from the main Bruichladdich distillery site
  • the name of a new expression of Bruichladdich that recalls the tone of the original eponymous spirit

In 2001, Bruichladdich began distilling the new make spirit for the rather heavily peated Port Charlotte single-malt Scotch whisky. In an unusual move, Bruichladdich released “Port Charlotte 5-Year-Old ‘Evolution’ (PC5 Evolution)” so that interested drinkers could follow the progress of the spirit as if they were right there at the distillery, tasting the spirit as it ages.

Technically, the Scotch Whisky Association (standards body for the Scotch industry) says that distilled malt spirit must be at least 3 years old before it can be sold as “Scotch Whisky,” so this 5-year-old Port Charlotte is already whisky. People more experienced than myself have said it’s a bit rough around the edges, but it’s up to the distillery to decide when to call it done. There is a lot of excitement around Port Charlotte, so it must take a degree of self-control to not sell too much, too soon. Any spirit that is bottled now is spirit that won’t age anymore.

I heard about the Port Charlotte on the WhiskyCast and ordered a bottle from Beltramo’s. Ken, the Beltramo’s buyer had not yet heard of it. I am pretty sure I had one of the first bottles in the western United States. The PC5 Evolution is more peaty than I was used to, but I have grown to love it, and it’s been a bit over a year now since I got my PC5 — PC6-Cuairt-Beatha (means “Walk of Life”) is now widely available. I have to conserve my PC5 so it lasts until the Port Charlotte “final” product is shipping. Will that be a 10-year-old? 12-? 15-? Who knows? When Jim McEwan says it’s ready, I’m first in line to buy it!

In the mean time, I hear rumors that PC7 is heading for bottles in the Fall of 2008, which means I’ll have a bottle sometime around my birthday in 2009 (perhaps March, if I’m lucky).

Port Charlotte is only one of about eight different “new make” spirits that Bruichladdich is producing. The variety of expressions being produced by Bruichladdich is astounding. It’s been said that you could drink a different Bruichladdich expression every day for a month without repeating yourself. It’s pretty clear that this distillery is committed to variety and excellence in every area of Islay Scotch production. Port Charlotte is only the latest exemplar of these attributes. What I’ve tasted of Port Charlotte so far, I have really enjoyed.

The next post will be about peat. What is it? Where does it come from? Why do Islay malts tend to be peaty whereas other Scotch appelations less so? Why is Bruichladdich simultaneously the least and most peaty Islay Scotch?