This is the second review of our 4-bottle Port Charlotte vertical tasting with a variety of cask maturations. The first review was the standard expression in ex-bourbon barrels and the remaining reviews are a Sherry cask and a Marsala cask.
Many of the Port Charlotte maturation are retail travel exclusives (meaning you can only pick them up at airports), so we snatch them up whenever we travel internationally. The French oak Cognac Cask maturation bottle was released for the travel retail market in the first half of 2016. I found a bottle in Berlin recently and grabbed it on my way back to the states.
One thing to note about the CC:01 (and other Port Charlotte cask maturations) is that it is entirely matured in cognac casks, which makes it different than a lot of “cognac-finished” whiskies out there that spend most of their lives in bourbon barrels before a quick rest in a cognac barrel.
Port Charlotte CC:01 Cognac Cask
- Score 7.57.5/10
Nose: Huge nose on this one. Chicharrones (Mexican salted fried pork rinds), tangy oranges, olive oil, vanilla, pear, apricot, salted caramel, strawberry covered bandages
Palate: Fruit explosion followed by a wallop of peat. There is a honey and orange sherbet taste but the whisky definitely singes the tongue with its high ABV. Water brings out some fruit smoke to it: pear, salted caramel, and apricot.
Finish: Chocolate and the heat of a vindaloo and cinnamon.
TLDR: Orange Curry
Overall: The cognac definitely stands up to the strength of the peat in this one. However, I wish there was a bit of tempering on the heat of it (it is burn-y even for cask strength whisky). Even with the heavy addition of water, the palate still stings and some of the nuances are lost. That being said, it’s still delicious and I’d probably buy it again. Perhaps just a few more years in the cask would have been great.
Bought for: ~100 Euros at Berlin Schonefeld Airport
- ABV: 57.8%
- Cask: French oak that previously held cognac
- Age: 8 years, although officially it is a No Age Statement
- Non-chill filtered, coloring free
- Bruichladdich was our favorite distillery tour on Islay (read more about our visit here). It is also the largest private employer on Islay (even more than Laphroaig or Lagavulin) due to its reliance on manpower versus machines.
- It is famous for its Octomore line, which is known for having extremely high peat levels – even up to 200 to 300 ppm (its 08.3 has 309 ppm). Its peated Port Charlotte line is 40 ppm.
- Prides itself on being highly experimental and for trying to feature terroir (even releasing a “terroir-ed” gin called Botanist)
- Built in 1881 but mothballed in 2000 – before it was purchased by its fan and aficionado Mark Reynier. Now owned by Remy Cointreau.
Next up, we will be reviewing the MRC bottle (marsala cask). Until then, read our first review (standard expression) below!