...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Port Charlotte 16 year old 2001 Archives, cask 278 (my bottle)

(Port Charlotte cluster homepage)

For the 24th and final Port Charlotte cluster review, I opened up one of my bottles. I'm pretty sure it was the oldest existing Port Charlotte for all of about 30 minutes, so I got those Big Whisky Eyes, and suddenly I was nearly breaching my spending limit, for a 16 year old whisky mind you. My logic was: Port Charlotte (Good) + Archives (Good) = Doubleplusgood. And shut up and take my money.

At the time, I'd never tried a Port Charlotte that was 10 years old, let alone 16! Thanks to this cluster, my experience has changed. In fact, I tried this 16 alongside the other two 16s from this review series. And now it receives its own post.


Diluted to 46%abv (going backwards this time)

At first it's an outdoor fish market (in the morning) and salty/savory smoke in the nose. Baked peaches and apricots fill in the midground, with hints of anise and sourdough in the background. An intense ocean water note takes over at the 30 minute mark.

The palate is loaded with the big PC peat, as well as lots of salt and wasabi. There's no vanilla, and very little sweetness. With time in the glass, it develops a mix of charcoal smoke and lime juice.

It finishes salty and tingly, and holds onto that charcoal smoke + lime combo.

Full strength - 59.7%abv

Horse stables and peaches on the nose. Seaweed and kiln. Lemon, honey and a hint of guava juice too. Yes.

The palate is fierce AF. No subtlety, just ALL CAPS. Herbal bitterness and salt wrapped in black smoke. A wallop of Hampden-style funk. Baskets of limes and oranges.

The citrus goes tart in the finish, keeping up with all the heavy smoke, salt and funk.


Thank goodness this is good. I've had a number of decent-enough bottles recently, and I'm getting tired of trading my money for "decent-enough."

One great aspect of this Port Charlotte is that it's two different whiskies at 46%abv and 59.7%abv, and both versions are throughly enjoyable. This also hints at the possibility of more variation at other dilution levels. Quality + flexibility! While the nose is grand at both levels, I prefer the crazy violence at full power. This may be another whisky that will drink even better when the heat index is below 100ºF, so I'm going to keep the bottle sealed up for a few months before returning to it.

Well, that's nearly a wrap, folks. I will pull together my thoughts from this 2.5 month quest and post something like a conclusion this weekend.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - €170 when it was released; a lot more €€€ on the current secondary market
Rating - 90