...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Port Charlotte 14 year old Batch 7, That Boutique-y Whisky Company

(Port Charlotte cluster homepage)

I've gotten into a habit of prefacing my That Boutique-y Whisky Company single malt reviews with paragraphs about how I've yet to be thrilled by one of their products. And then there are a few snipes about full bottle prices for half-bottle sizes. And some comments about their labels, etc.

But then I went ahead and bought one of their whiskies anyway. I love the idea of smaller bottles, especially those in the 200mL - 375mL range. The price on this 14yo wasn't horrifying, and the molecular label may be their most reserved piece of graphic design. Also I applaud their shift to using actual age statements, so I decided to support it with money.

These Port Charlotte batches are a bit confusing. Batch 5 has an identical ABV to Batch 7, and the age statement is the same, but it was released in another country. So are they really different whiskies? And why is Batch 8 priced 67% higher than Batch 7, while being one year younger? Clearly, I've become an easily confused, addled old man early in life.

Anyhoo, my bottle:

Distillery: Bruichladdich
Brand: Port Charlotte
Ownership: Rémy Cointreau
Independent Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Age: 14 years (???? - ????)
Maturation: Not listed, but there's a sherry cask involved
Outturn: 662 bottles (375mL)
Alcohol by Volume: 51.1%
(from the top third of my bottle)

The tasting will be conducted backwards this time, as I try it diluted first, full strength second.

At 46%abv

The nose reminds me of the 10-12yo sherry cask Ledaigs Signatory cranked out pre-Covid. It's full of funky sneaker peat, roasted nuts and toffee. Ocean, kiln and farm form the middle. Hints of chocolatey coffee linger in the background.

The palate is all kiln and moss at first, massively smoky. A mix of brine, chile oil and wasabi appears next. After 20-30 minutes, the salt meets up with some citrus and farmy notes, bringing depth.

It finishes as loud as the palate and nose. All salt, chile oil and kiln smoke.

At full strength (51.1%abv)

The nose feels a bit tight at first, all mossy smoke and clementines. Then, gradually, it opens up with almond pastries, walnuts, hints of dried fruit, coffee and anchovies(!). As the sherry cask wakes up, it merges very well with the peat, creating a solid core.

Hotter than expected, the palate releases a bundle of lemons to go with all the smoke. Small to moderate notes of tar, bitter chocolate, cinnamon and dried grasses fill it out.

It finishes with bitter chocolate, cinnamon, kiln smoke and just a squeeze of lemon.


This is my favorite TBWC whisky by some distance, thank goodness. It's a challenging drinker for a humid June night, but I should have expected as much from Port Charlotte. I'm thankful the whisky wasn't bottled at a higher ABV because it's very heavy for 51.1%abv. But it's not oak soup nor sherry soup nor mezcal soup because there's no awkward separation between the moving parts. It's a good cask that was bottled at the right time, as far as I can tell.

I'm going to close this one back up until December or January because I'd rather drink it while sitting on my new balcony, appreciating the quiet winter, pretending my indigestion is really a soul beginning to thaw.

Availability - I don't know, but it was a USA-only release
Pricing - around $90 for a 375mL
Rating - 88 (maybe higher in winter)