Buying a cask of whisky to own is often out of the reach of many. For example I’ve never made that step up despite owning shares in a couple of casks myself, but it is something I do consider now and again. Round up a bunch of friends, spread the risk and enjoyment, all put in a little cash and you’re good to go. Sounds easy but it then again it always is that way, isn’t it?
Port Sgioba is Gaelic for Port Charlotte and while the distillery closed in 1929, its spirit endured beyond time. Then come 2001, the revived nearby distillery of Bruichladdich (just 2 miles away), decided to re-start production of the Port Charlotte spirit in homage to the legacy of its former neighbour. The Charlotte spirit is normally peated to 40ppm and more robust than what we expect from a Laddie.
This particular sherry cask was one of the few remaining from the inaugural vintage before being bottled at 8 years of age and a mighty 66% strength. It promises to be something rather different and hopefully memorable.
Distillery: Port Charlotte
Distilled: 6th December 2001
Bottled: 2nd March 2010 (8 years old)
Edition of: 286 bottles
Cask: sherry hogshead 826/2001
Strength: 66% vol
Additional: non-chill filtered, natural colour
Colour: glowing deep reddish embers
Nose: the welcome hug of an old wooden bookcase complete with aromas of aged books and a touch of smoke stain. The beeswax moves forward; a struck matchstick guides us across the room towards fruit loaf with added rum, a sprinkling of coconut, dark chocolate and hot dogs in brine.
Taste: just like an electrical jolt to the system – sheer power! There is a twinge of alcohol but this isn’t as strong on the palate as expected. It’s predictable to say sherry and surprisingly this isn’t the dominate force. Frankincense is noticeable, the billowing swirl of smoke and cinder toffee. More sweetness with liquorice and a real thick consistency on the palate.
There’s more to this experience than a sherry monster. The cask is a force but the spirit in tandem with its wooden host has gone off in a different direction. The final effect is a formidable experience and a fine way to commence a new voyage of discovery.