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Friday, June 18, 2021

Port Charlotte 16 year old 2002 Dramfool, cask 243

(Port Charlotte cluster homepage)

16 year old Port Charlotte. It's a real thing! In fact, the final three reviews for this cluster will be of 16 year old Port Charlotte. I'm starting that run by ending this Dramfool review run with a 16yo distilled in 2002. While Monday's 14yo was from a sherry hoggie, and Wednesday's 15yo was from a bourbon hoggie, today's 16 spent its time in a first-fill bourbon barrel, though somehow it had a larger outturn than the 15's hogshead. As excited as I am to try these 16s, I'm going to moderate my enthusiasm because more age often doesn't translate to better Port Charlotte...

Distillery: Bruichladdich
Brand: Port Charlotte
Ownership: Rémy Cointreau
Independent Bottler: Dramfool
Age: 16 years (June 2002 - July 2018)
Maturation: first-fill bourbon barrel
Cask #: 243
Outturn: 221 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 60.5%
(from a bottle split)


The nose starts off with big, but controlled, peat. Then pine sap, apricots, lemon juice and honey. Snickerdoodle cookies and a hint of vanilla bean. It trends towards forest and earth with time. It becomes a very different experience once it's diluted all the way down to 46%abv. Citrussy smoke swirls around mangoes, cloves, cardamom, sandalwood and blood oranges. Yeah, I'm okay with this.

Lemons, brown sugar, smoke, soil and stones make up the palate. But those lemons, nice and tart, start to merge with the smoke after a bit, and then are joined by charred peppers. At 46%abv, the palate reads smokier than the nose. But it's not one dimensional. Lemon cookies, Thai Bitters (these, FWIW) and small savory notes develop after a few minutes.

It finishes with lemons and pepper oil. Earth and smoke. Just a little bit of sweetness. Down at 46%abv, it's all lemons, smoke, and a pinch of sugar. But the lemons!


Well done, you Dramfools. Between the nose's beautiful turn at 46%abv and the palate's perfect lemons, this whisky earns its 90 points. I probably won't be able to afford 20 year old Port Charlotte, but for those of you who will, this bodes very well for 20 year old Port Charlotte, said the man who just wrote, "more age often doesn't translate to better Port Charlotte." Also, Port Charlotte. Will that get me some more hot SEO action?

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 90

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