Part of the Cask Exploration series, their Port Charlotte OLC: 01 is one of the most unusual expressions they have released. It’s rarity is two-fold. Few single malts originally start their journey in such a complex combination of casks. Fewer still complete their journey in genuine Oloroso sherry hogsheads from a fine Spanish bodega like Fernando de Castilla. Distilled back in 2010, from the 2009 crop of Scottish Barley, this heavily peated single malt was first filled into an array of ex-bourbon, ex-Syrah and ex-VDN (vin doux naturel) casks. In 2018, this spirit was transferred into a parcel of Oloroso hoggies that arrived at their distillery on the personal recommendation from bodega owner, Jan Petersson.
Nose – Initially lovely earthy peat smoke and dark fruit, fig predominantly and toffee. As the aromas start to open soft peach and honey appear and a nutty nougat note sets the tone. Baked orange and a hint of mulled wine spice. The peat smoke notes are constant and start to bring out some resinous woody aromas, the longer you allow it to open the more depth you discover, more roasted coffee, syrup and citrus, more chocolate and crushed sea shells.
Palate – As soon as this dram touches your lips you feel the soft oily texture and then, as it coats the palate a subtle dryness changes the tone. The leading notes from the Oloroso cask and the peat smoke define the identity of the whisky but underneath there is a fruity sweetness – figs, orange and peach with a nutty nougat note. With another sip the darker notes of tobacco, boot polish and more earthy smoke give a pepperiness that really draws you into this magnificent whisky.
Finish – The finish is a dry earthy peat smoke with lime and figs. A chocolate and vanilla note comes through and some salty, sandy character. Peat embers give a last hint of smoke.
Character – This dram will leave you reeling, the Port Charlotte spirit is beautifully matched with the Oloroso casks. The initial blending of whisky has been tailored to suit. It’s another cask exploration that shows the versatility of the Port Charlotte whisky and demonstrates the exceptional quality of casks they source.