Kilchoman Coull Point

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 20.34.13Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottled: 2013, Distilled: 2009
ABV: 46%
Cask: Bourbon and Oloroso
More Info: WhiskyBase

Another airport treat here. I picked this up ages ago and decided to open it for World Whisky Day.

It took a little while to open up but after nearly a week I’m getting a ton more character coming through.

Nose: Oceanic and salty with a vegetal feel. Coltsfoot rock, sultanas, oily espresso and waxed leather. There’s a dusty earthiness with grist and dried herbs. With time, ready salted crisps and a whiff of tequila.

Palate: Luscious mouthfeel with a great balance of sweet and savoury. Peaty and rather Ardbeglike with the character of the smoke coming through as flavours of iodine and dark tar amid sweet notes of treacle, roasted hazelnuts, and burnt coffee.

Finish: Long and dry with bitter dark chocolate, sawdust, white pepper, and a wisp of earthy peat smoke.

This is a terrific whisky. Peaty, tasty, but subtle and evolving plenty in the glass over time.

Elements of the palate remind me of 70’s Ardbeg with its restraint and balance. I respect that’s very high praise for a whisky that’s only spent four years in wood but it turns out that you can get a very high quality distillate when you take the small batch farmyard approach and do things slowly and properly.

I picked this up for under £50 in Manchester Airport. It’s going for more than that online (a lot more in some cases). Keep an eye out for it if you fly via/to the UK, it’s well worth the RRP.

 

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Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 11.16.22Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottled: 2016
Age: 8 years old
ABV: 57.8%
Cask: European Oak (Cognac Cask)
More Info: WhiskyBase

Hello, hello! A cask-strength Port Charlotte release…

The PC series proved immensely popular in travel retail and now we’re onto vintages: the 2007 Cognac Cask. Always complex, never boring, and a very tempting reason to book a holiday this year.

Nose: Loving the dry, earthy Port Charlotte smoke here! Drifting through the peat we get aromas of mango pulp, dried apricot, peach, kiwi, mandarin and lime skin. Great savoury notes too – soft rubber soles, smoked cheese, roast potatoes, rosemary, and rock salt. I’ve been nosing for ten minutes and it’s still fascinating.

Palate: Campfire smoke, candied orange, more mango pulp, plums, raspberry then a whoosh of sea salt and the drying, mineral-rich peat steps in with juicy sweet malt, vanilla, and milky coffee. Wowser.

Finish: Ashy and savoury with salted cashews.

Excellent stuff, this. Reminds me of a PC valinch bottling I picked up on Islay – full of distillery character with fruit, smoke and malt beautifully interwoven and a complete bargain for the RRP.

I think Adam Hannett’s found a sweet spot here agewise for cask-strength Port Charlotte.

Can’t wait to see what comes next…

The Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01 is available from World Duty Free for £67.99.

Laphroaig Brodir

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 20.37.09Distillery: Laphroaig
Age:
NAS
Bottled: 2015
Cask: Bourbon barrels, finished in Ruby port
ABV: 
48%
More Info:
WhiskyBase

Peaty Islay whisky, finished in port casks?? Yeah, go on, why not.

Another travel retail release from Laphroaig, Brodir’s been around a couple of years as you may have noticed if you’ve been through duty free lately. Bottled at 48%, without chill filtering – let’s see how it fares in the glass.

Nose: Coal dust, charred sausages, salty pretzels, wet oil paints. With time, dark cherries and plums emerge through the thick, salty aroma of wood smoke.

Palate: Coal tar soap, orange marmalade, with a kick of chilli calming to reveal chamomile flowers, loose leaf tea, liquorice all-sorts, bitter grapefruit, vanilla pods, and a twist of blackcurrant.

Finish: Soap and smoke, black pepper, liquorice and lingering dry ashes.

Not a bad dram at all, this.

Reminds me very much of the Amontillado-finished Cairdeas from 2014. All the coal-tar and acrid peat you expect from Laphroaig but with an interesting dark fruit influence from the port casks.

Available at Master of Malt for £89.95.

Octomore 07.2

Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottled: 2015
Age: 5 years old
ABV: 58.5%
Cask: American oak, finished in Rhône Syrah Wine Casks
More Info: WhiskyBase

Here’s this year’s cask-finish Octomore, the travel retail exclusive 07.2 finished in French red wine casks which previously held wine made with those famously peppery Syrah grapes.

I’ve been wanting to try this for a while! These TREs from Bruichladdich can go for silly money so it took a while to source one at a sane price.

Nose: Opens with salty dark chocolate, orange wine gums, blackberries. Damp earthy peat bog leading to herbaceous lavender and dry basil. A faint sulphurous edge which, combined with the salt, reminds me of the smell you get when opening a pack of vacuum packed wafer ham.

Palate: Like someone peat-smoked a strawberry cheesecake! Viscous, golden barley syrup leads only to be t-boned by the Octomore signature peat juggernaut. As the peat fades you get the soft red fruit – strawberries and raspberries, with some kirsch cherry-chocolates

Finish: Long, lipsmacking oily peat with salt and pepper, and a touch of citrus. The peat’s very sticky – you can almost chew it. Slightly ashy, like the mouthfeel after a cigar.

Clean fruit meets dirty peat! I don’t like it as much as the 06.3 Islay Barley but it’s got a certain appeal for sure. That intense muddy peated chocolate character that runs through Octomore acts as a good backdrop for those red fruit high notes.

Another worthy experiment, Mr. McEwan.

I picked this up for about £88 on WhiskySite.nl – they’ve sold out now, but they do still have the 06.2 version for the same price.