SMWS 127.37 Dinosaurs Dancing to Stravinsky

Port Charlotte 9 Years Old 2003 single malt scotch whisky

66.5% ABV, £109.50 from SMWS

Score: 87/100

SMWS

What they say:

Cask No. 127.37

Nose:

The initial nosing is (obviously) peat up front, but there’s something else going on, which we quickly identified was the influence of sherry wood. We picked up prawn crackers, truffles on buttered toast, cordite, and maple syrup on bacon. Also some hazelnut liqueur, scampi fries, barley, and pancakes.

Palate:

It’s a lovely marriage of peat and sherry, resulting in textbook flavours that we likened to bacon; pea and ham soup; smoky salted caramels; smoky toffee; fudge; and milk chocolate. The longer you spend with this, the smokier it gets!

Finish:

Incredibly long, it is both drying and sweet: Biltong, blackberry jam, toasty sherry oak, and lingering smokiness.

Comments:

In a panel session that had already featured some very high-scoring drams, this one rose above the pack! It’s not the smokiest nose on the planet, but it certainly delivers on the palate. Everything is balanced, and the sherry adds a sweet, tasty dimension that you just want to keep going back to. Sexy, sultry, and complex were three words we agreed on.

UK Tasting Panel:

The nose – muscle rub, curry sausage, hickory pulled pork, Branston pickle, roasted nuts, smoked salt, horse grooming brushes and tarry ropes on Duncan McGillivray’s puffer. The palate, immense as a mastodon in your face, was carbolic, tarbolic, herbolic (complete bolics?) – hell’s spawn and brimstone, smoke rising in a kiln, prunes, pickled black cherries and barbecued jelly fish – sensual, dark and mysterious – some might have fled the field, but we absolutely loved it. The reduced nose was filmic – humid prehistoric jungle (Ice Age 3), dinosaurs dancing to Stravinsky (Fantasia), while the palate (tincture of clove, charcoal, sugar-coated fennel seeds) was ‘totally impressive’.

Colour:

Auburn toffee gold

SMWS127.37

What I say:

Sampled 12th December 2014 at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. The last few dregs of these bottles were still available at the bars for those in the know ;-). This is a 9 Years Old Port Charlotte (40ppm Peated Bruichladdich) distilled 20th August 2003 and matured for a full 9 years in a refill sherry butt before producing 649 bottles at cask strength 66.5% ABV!

Colour:

Fill gold (9/20) thick and slow oily tears

Nose:

Beef monster munch, peaty, peat smoke, BBQ beef, malty cereal barley, marmite, then a sweet vanilla essence, vanilla cream icing and icing sugar sweetness hits

Taste:

Honey sweet before descending into thick and chewy and also moreish malty marmite, spiced cinnamon and some black and chilli pepper heat, this mellows into a toffee’d oak wood mixed with salt liqourice

Finish:

Long, malty, toffee oak wood and lots of peat smoke, some medicinal (iodine) hints

Overall:

Wow, quite a powerful dram, this carries a huge ABV and so lends itself well to a drop of water or actually quite a huge splash in fact. The flavours are well held in all that lovely peaty, smoky oiliness and watering them down actually removes that liquorice/aniseedy element I’m not so fond of and reveals plenty of the subtler elements within this dram. This would be a great heart-warmer on a winter’s night, even with a rock or two or plenty of cool spring water to mellow it out.