The first cask whisperer release had one of the best Port Charlotte’s I’ve ever tried. If you aren’t familiar, Jim McEwan was the maestro of Bruichladdich and Bowmore. The man is immortalized in the whisky hall of fame. And these are the casks he took with him when he sold Bruichladdich. Sure, it’s really darn expensive. And they only sold in Switzerland, which means they are locked up tighter than a gold vault. Getting anything shipped out of that country is always an adventure. The owners of Neumarkt really went above and beyond. They offered 4oz samples at a reasonable price and helped us navigate shipping to three different countries. Sadly, no good notes on release one. But it was a lovely night on my balcony I’ll remember for years. That said, the price to value is suspect overall. The couple really good bottles are definitely worth a dram if you ever find one. But I’m not buying the bottles for my bunker. So… there is that.
When release two hit the shop in fall, I was about to reach out, when I saw Bruce at Dramfools had a full sample set all packaged and ready to go. Figuring it would be fun to join a different crew, I took advantage, especially since he has shipping to me here in Africa on rails.
If you have ever been curious about upper tier whisky, I can’t encourage you enough to just do bottles shares and samples with people. Your palate is so unique, that unless you can afford to gamble (which happens to me sometimes when FOMO kicks in and I get sucked into marketing), trying before you buy is always worthwhile. While historically I trade with people, or get a crew together to split a bottle, there is an explosion of new offerings where you can buy by the dram. I love how Dramfools offers small volumes of all their releases. Even better than getting a dram is when someone as knowledgeable as Bruce put together an offering like dramtubes and decides to take you on the journey with him. I’ll admit I prefer smaller groups, where we have the freedom to wander, but those initial online tasting were fun.
We tasted these blind. The tubes were numbered, and I did not cheat and study the lineup beforehand. I normally like to dive in deep. Share the narrative journey of the experience. But, when tasting these 6 drams with this crew online, it went by fast. When I’m with Ryan, we’ll do 2-4 samples over a handful of hours. Time for my palate to meander. For the pour to evolve. For banter to take place. This group was on a mission. So the notes are tight. I bet 70% of normal readers probably prefer this format anyways. If so, you’ll like Brian’s posts. He has 4 kids and fears the internets. I just need to help him push his notes online. Life keeps him succinct. =p.
Bruichladdich 7y bourbon cask No. 754 50.1%
Nose: buttered corn, graham crackers, farmyard
Palate: green apples, hay, tastes young.
Rating: 5 / 10
2002 Bruichladdich 17 years old 53.5% Cask No. Unknown
Nose: red fruit, ruby red grapefruit
Palate: light, raspberry, tart cherry, grapefruit, oak spice, cinnamon, warm finish
Lochindal 12y Cask No. 7003368 55.5%
Nose: warm peat, strawberry jam, summertime,
Palate: lightly peated, sweet table grapes, camomile tea, wildflower honey. hay
Port Charlotte 17 Wine cask 52.3% Cask No. Unknown
Nose: rich and funky farmyard, fatty cured ham, grapefruit zest
Palate: perfectly integrated peat, pear, grapefruit, oak spice, cinnamon, dry finish
Octomore 11 year wine cask 58.8% Cask No. Unknown
Nose: cotton candy, turron, chocolate/coffee towards the end of the sniff
Palate: warm smoke, marzipan, abazaba (nougat & peanut butter)
Octomore 8 year bourbon 59.9%
Nose: very mild peat, Bartlett pears, cardamom, star of anise
Palate: nice light peat, warm spices, honey … but my palate is basically fried
Rating: 6/10 (might be a 6 or an 8)
Photo borrowed from the Cask Whisperer facebook page.