Port Charlotte PC10 Tro Na Linntean : Day 9 #Whiskyfabric Advent Calendar

If you had to push me for my current favourite whisky or distillery, I would currently be torn between two: Springbank and Bruichladdich. That that know these kind of things would tell me off for cheating as most people know that both these distilleries produce three different whiskies. Springbank produces the standard Springbank, triple distilled Hazelburn and peated Longrow and Bruichladdich producing the unpeated Bruichladdich, heavily peated Port Charlotte and the crazy smack me in the face peated Octomore. Having visited both these distilleries in the summer, my love for them continued to grow. Bruichladdich was incredibly welcoming and gave us some simply stunning whisky. Port Charlotte has quickly become my go to whisky as its such a great mix of peat, smoke and power without it being a one dimensional peat bomb.

I’ve tasted a large amount of Port Charlottes recently (well, the few that are available) and I haven’t tasted a poor one yet. I’ve been wanting to taste the flagship PC10 for quite a while now, but it’s been rather difficult to get my hands on some. Luckily a lovely gent by the name of Steve Prentice came to my rescue. Steve (@steveprentice) has become a good buddy of mine, and we spend most of our time teasing each other. He’s a top chap, great reviewer at the SomersetWhiskyBlog and it’s always great when we get to meet.

PC10 ‘Tro Na Linntean’ (59.8%)
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: Raw, earthy and gritty. There is quite a bit of peat here, but in the classic Port Charlotte way. It in no way seems overbearing. Having nosed a large amount of PCs & Octomore recently this, although peaty, has an elegant style. Soot, ash, tar and slightly medicinal. The slight baby vomit note sometimes found in the Laddie 10 is there too. Quite oily (linseed oil) with some strong bright woody notes too. Sugared sweetness towards the end with some iodine. Lovely whiffs of smoke. Immense.

P: Wow, huge arrival. Peat jumps straight out hammering around the mouth, more so than the nose. This is coupled with some ashen smoke and harsh peppery notes. Tar again, reminds me of newly laid road. Rather oily this, gliding all over the tongue. It’s like smoking cuban cigar in an old leather armchair. When the peat widens it opens up some vanilla and ripe squashed berries. Awesome.

F: Long, very warming and beautifully lingering. End of a peat BBQ (which I had on Islay in July – I’d highly recommend it). Slightly bitter, salty and coastal.

Comments: Such a perfect Port Charlotte. I’ve had a number of single casks recently, and this is just as good. Power, precision and perfection! 91.5
A big thanks again to Steve for this brilliant sample!

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Balblair 1978 : Day 6 #Whiskyfabric Advent Calendar

Sticking with the Highlands, I found this old Balblair in today’s spot. This will be the oldest Balblair I’ve tasted to date and I heard that the 1975 was spectacular, so I’m looking forward to this. This was sent nearly a year ago by the duo which bring us WhiskyCorner. Stewart and Kirsty are a Scottish couple who constantly show their passion for whisky (not just Laphroaig!) again and again online. Now the couple write reviews, interviews and news for their ever expanding website. I met the couple very briefly at Whisky Live last year and I’m sure I’ll bump into them again at some point. I know I’m not the only member of the #whiskyfabric who they have generously donated special drams to; we are all very grateful.

Balblair 1978 (46%)
IMG_0024N: This has such a grassy hay like quality to it, clumpy and thick, reminding me of picking wet grass out of the lawnmower. Really fresh and fruity with lots of green apples – there are similarities to the Tomatin 30yo I tasted a few days ago. There’s quite a waxy quality, with a slight nuttiness and some salt. With time in the glass it gets slightly more meaty and coastal with the fruits taking a back seat. Quite a gentle easy going nose.

P: This glides down easily whilst retaining a thick mouthfeel. Pears, grass again and some orange zest. Strong oaky flavours with a few rough and ready edges. Pretty smooth this and towards the end I got some dried fruit. No huge complexity here, but some nice notes.

F: Medium. Some forest fruits along with a minty toothpaste edge. Quite a bit of bourbony flavours at the end, and quite a dryness too.

Comments: This is an easy drinker for its age (30/35 years?!) Fruity, fresh and ripe, whilst retaining an edge of maturity. I wouldn’t have guessed it’s age though as it felt like there was less interaction with the wood than a lot of 30+ year old I’ve tried. It does lack a bit of complexity and it’s not the most balanced Balblair I’ve tasted, but it’s their oldest expression I’ve tried and I still thought it was quite nice…. Just not blown away! 86

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Thanks again to Kirsty and Stewart

 

 

A #Whiskyfabric Advent Calendar

Advent is a special time for many. For some of us, it is a time of preparation for the celebration of the nativity of Jesus at Christmas. For others, it is just a mad three week rush leading up to the 25th December; including shopping, parties and “valid” excuses to eat and drink too much. The term advent is taken from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming” and no matter whether you believe something special is coming or not, you have to admit that Christmas is an exciting time of year. For as long as I can remember, December has brought a sense of excitement to these cold winter months. I love fires, scented candles, singing carols at the top of my voice in church, celebrating with my family and opening my advent calendar each day. This year however, I won’t be opening my calendar in the morning.

Even though you know what will be behind the door each day, the excitement was always there as a child. Then came the joys of chocolate advent calendars. “What do you mean I can’t eat it for breakfast?!” “If I eat five now, that won’t be a problem will it?” Both regular statements in my household. Now that I’m a *tad* more mature and married it means that I don’t get to open my advent calendar at all. That’s my wife’s job and I value my life too much to try stealing chocolate from her!

It was then (whilst grumpily surfing the web last year) that I discovered something even more wonderful than a Cadburys chocolate calendar: The Whisky Advent Calendar. An interesting idea. I know there has been a negative article circulating over the last few days, suggesting this idea is offensive. David Marshall from the Meaningful chocolate company said this type of advent calendar “…distracts from the meaning of Christmas”. Some would say that working for a chocolate company, he could be threatened by the new rivalry and I can tell you that chocolate has nothing to do with the “true meaning” of Christmas either! I do however understand how some people could find an idea of a whisky advent calendar far away from the meaning of advent, and somewhat excessive. However, with less than 3cl per day for this month only, before going back to once or twice a week, I don’t think that would be considered excessive. I am fascinated by the diversity and flavours I find in different whiskies and I look forward to taking notes and enjoying the tastes and aromas of these fantastic samples.

Long story short, I have already tried a large majority of the regular whisky advent calendar whiskies, and the premium selection was simply out of my price range. It was then that it occurred to me that I had a large stash of very special whisky samples kindly given to me by generous members of the whisky community, or #whiskyfabric if you will. What better time to try them than this?

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I have chosen twenty-five of my most exciting, beguiling, rare and down right scrumptious samples from thirteen very munificent whisky friends. The large scale calendar has been constructed by my lovely wife, a massive thank you to her – and the samples have been randomised so I don’t know what to expect. I will aim to primarily taste and enjoy, but will be taking a few tasting notes so that I can review each one on here every day.

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I would love for you to follow what I get to taste this coming month and whether you’re “coming” or going this advent, enjoy yourself and this wonderful month.