Culture: Exploring Whisky with Bruichladdich

Wednesday, 7 August, 2019

We were invited to the launch of Bruichladdich's 10yr Port Charlotte whisky at Lucky Shaker. I had never heard of this distillery (very uncultured of me!) and was happy to be introduced to their wares. Also thank you to Esquire for this helpful pronunciation video.

Caitlin Hill, Brand Ambassador to a host of delicious spirits that fall under the the Remy Cointreau stable, took us through the history of the distillery which has been around since 1881 on Islay. Islay is a tiny island in Scotland that is ALL about whisky, specifically famous for its peated whiskies.

The most interesting thing for me was to hear all the terminology around the production and taste of whisky and how many similarities there are to how we talk about coffee. The big push by this particularly distillery is the focus on the origin of all their ingredients to be locally produced and having complete transparency on that.

Whisky is a premium product in the way that I wish coffee was. Paying for coffee on a tiered system of excellence, skill and raw ingredients. An exclusive whisky costs a lot more and that is completely accepted. Love these tasting notes on the 10year we had the opportunity to taste:


NOSE: The smoke is calmed by the marine, ozone character. Time has brought a balance and harmony, in the combination of oak, smoke and spirit. While the smoke is always discernible on the nose, it’s dry, earthy, peat-ash style allows the oak to come forward with waves of golden caramel, fudge, vanilla custard and hints of ginger, nutmeg and clove. There is citrus fruit, coaxed from the glass with a drop of water, gentle lemon meringue and clementine. Breathe deeply and the floral aromas of wild thyme, heather and sea pink bring you to the Atlantic coast. 

PALATE: On the palate, there is a noticeable delicacy and softness in texture and style. Again, the balance of flavour is superb as the smoke wraps loosely around the sweetness that’s drawn from deep within the oak. Coconut, vanilla custard and lemon honey combines with smoked oysters and sun baked salty sand. 

FINISH: The finish is sublime, smoky, but also the soft sweetness of fudge and malted barley, orange, mango and banoffee pie, hinting of the depth and quality of the oak. The many layers interchange on each sip. As the smoke comes and goes, so too do the notes of the spirit-ripe apple and apricot, beautifully intertwined with malt and oak sweetness and the typical Port Charlotte style dry smoke. 

CHARACTER: Aging for 10 years on the shores of Lochindaal has had a profound effect on this spirit. Like sunshine on a winter’s day, this Port Charlotte 10 brings clarity and lightens the mood, welcoming and brightening the future."

Bruichladdich also has a connection to South Africa through one of the people that works there, a PE local, Graham Hayes, now their Stillman. You can read the full interview between him and Lucky Shaker owner Michael Stephenson that inspired the cocktail over here. It was DELICIOUS!

The ‘Stillhouse Sour’ photo by Caitlin Hill

Made by @mixwithmike from @luckyshaker with @bruichladdich#PortCharlotte 10YO whisky, tawny port, stout reduction, fresh lemon, fresh orange, citrus syrup & house made orange bitters - inspired by @graham.hayes71 - our beloved South African who works as a Stillman at the Bruichladdich Distillery .

Port Charlotte Brand - Bruichladdich from Denholm Associates on Vimeo.

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!