Port Charlotte 2005 Valinch Oloroso cask , Feis Ile 2018

This year Bruichladdich released two different special editions bottling for Feis Ile 2018, Both were Port Charlotte whiskies (meaning : heavily peated), and both available only at the distillery shop on the open day. Valinches are normally single casks bottlings you can get at the distillery, each is of a different profile, and this year since the focus is on Port Charlotte (new re-branding, bottlings etc), its only fitting the Valinch comes  from a 2005 cask of Port Charlotte, fully matured in 2nd fill sherry for 12 years (distilled  21.11.2005, and bottled 2018), at a nice CS of 59.3% , as valicnhes go, this is a 500 ml bottle, there were only 956 ever made.

A full term maturation in ex-sherry casks, (2nd fill mind you, but still), means we’re about to get quite a bit of sherry in this one, and for me is highly interesting to see how the sherry and the PC distillate combination turns out. let’s try some …

Port Charlotte 2005 Valinch Oloroso ,  59.3%  , originally  £75 

Nose : rich and thick, with toffee, burnt caramel candy, kirsch, sultanas flambé, Vanilla essence, not lactic at all, to my surprise, but dirty enough otherwise. This is lovely fierce stuff, not your sweet Oloroso  run of the mill dram. Fun. With a bit of water, and this one loves water it’s even more sweet and concentrated, with red fruit jam and damp earth.
Palate : this is powerful stuff! Not as sweet as I thought it’d be, with dry sherry, thick, with chilly, earth, pepper, and a salty edge as well. Tarry and Islay-esque, with the smoke and dried fruit, but not in full swing.
Finish : leather, ash and tobacco leaf, burnt toasted nuts. some tar , salt and smoky prune juice.

Summary:

I’ve heard some people really liked it, and some were not as enthusiastic, but for me this was certainly a good surprise! While the whisky takes some time to open up, it is really a lovely sherry influenced PC, boasting both fruit, and dirty PC-y earthy, tarry and pepper goodness. This is not your every day go to dram (and good it isn’t since there’s so little of it), but I can see myself enjoying it quite a bit when nights are chilly and I am into a rougher , sweeter and rather complex Port Charlotte. Not for everyone clearly, but highly enjoyable and complex. It’s not as refined at the Lagavulin 18, or easy on the palate as the Cairdeas Fino, but it is something worth seeking if you’re a Laddie fan.

Score: 88/100

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