Bruichladdich’s rebirth under the guiding hands of Jim McEwan has been the thing of whisky legend. This renaissance will be looked back on in years to come as a thing of magnificence. The old Bruichladdich distillery, originally founded in 1881 and oft moth-balled, was reopened under the watchful gaze of Murray McDavid in 2000. After a lengthy career at neighboring Bowmore, Jim McEwan was hired on as Master Distiller, and has taken this distillery to new heights.
Port Charlotte PC6 is a heavily-peated whisky at 40ppm (most reliable number I have read), though it seems even bigger. At one of our unofficial ‘tastings’, three Bruichladdich bottles were lined up in a vertical tasting. These three were PC6, Brunello Cask and the second edition of Octomore. The Brunello, though a respectable 49%, couldn’t hold a candle to the other two, of course. Though the Octomore is the world’s most heavily-peated whisky at 140ppm, the PC6 was not overwhelmed at all. Impressive in and of itself.
PC6 is another of Bruichladdich’s young gems. Matured in American bourbon and French Madeira casks it has been bottled at a mere 6 years old. As I have mentioned before, I believe the big peats benefit from younger bottling. The peat is still raw and edgy and has not had time to mellow in the cask. Those of us who like to punish our tastebuds (why not? We’re already kicking the hell out of our livers) with huge flavors should love this.
On top of the bog influence, I must note that this is an absolute monster at 61.1%. You will be more than safe adding water if that is your preference. I would suggest, as with all whiskies, pour a glass and let it rest. This one needs time to open up. The delivery is well worth it.
Wave after wave of peat and smoke assail the senses. Surprisingly, these are equally met with that typical Bruichladdich buttery character. Rich and caramel sweet married to a huge blast of Islay magic. This is mind-blowingly unique and wonderful. Salty and medicinal, it has that tangy citric note that accompanies most of the peated whiskies as well. There is a deep dark éclair flavor to it. Also hints of bacon and maple.
A whisky this massive can be nothing less than a monster in the mouth as well. It ladles out all of the notes above, with emphasis on butterscotch, citrus and smoke, in a thick mouth coating heat. The burn is welcomed with open arms, and the finish is a smoldering hug that never lets go. You will be tasting this for hours.
I can not wait to sample the PC7 and PC8 now.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt