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Bruichladdich PC12 Impressions

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What is it?

Distillery: Bruichladdich
Name: Port Charlotte 12 Year Old PC12 "Oileanach Furachail"
Make: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Extra Info: Bruichladdich was established in 1881 on the Scottish island of Islay. It was closed in 1994 before being refurbished in 2001 and reopened in 2013, with much of the original Victorian-era machinery still in use to this day.

Why did I buy it?

This particular expression from Bruichladdich is only available via travel retail outlets. I happened to be travelling overseas so I took the opportunity to purchase this bottle duty-free on my return.

What did I think of it?

Presentation: Most Bruichladdich expressions are bottled in the same stout bottle with modern looking sans serif typeface lettering. The exception being the heavily peated Octomore range which use distinctive taller bottles. I quite like the Bruichladdich design language and it is definitely one of the more modern looking whiskies available. The PC12 is bottled at 58.7% ABV.

Appearance: Dark gold approaching amber in colour, this whisky is bottled at 58.7%ABV in non-chill filtered and has no added colouring.

Aroma: On first nose, it smelt like it could get you drunk on fumes alone. There was some smoke and alcohol at first and not much else. Some whiskies have more of those nose-burning volatile compounds than others and I have tasted higher ABV whiskies that do not smell as alcoholic as this. Perhaps surprisingly then, the PC12 got the 'Wife of WhiskDad Tick of Approval' i.e. she did not hate the smell of it.

With a subtle change in nosing technique, the quite pleasant aroma of alcohol soaked sultanas is revealed more easily. The addition of water cuts the alcohol fumes and allows the dried fruit notes to come forward.

Flavour: Very smoky but with a distinct sweetness. Plenty of heat that may present a challenge for a palate not accustomed to cask strength whisky. The burn can be tempered with water without diluting the dominant smoke flavour, although it leaves the whisky tasting a little flat. The flavour benefits from the high ABV but it creates a more prickly mouthfeel rather than being smooth on the palate.

Finish: Long bitter smoke finish leaving a slight warming in the chest. Lingering aftertaste of smoke that stays in the mouth long after the drink is finished. Better brush your teeth after this one if you don't want your breath to smell like a log fire.

Would I buy it again?

There's a certain segment of whisky fans (and I think I used to be one) who believe that for whisky to be good it has to slap you in the face and your ability to take it makes you a 'real' whisky drinker. This is one of those face slapping whiskies, but I am not one of those believers anymore.

Bruichladdich PC12 is not a bad whisky; in fact, it would no doubt be highly regarded by the segment of whisky fans I mentioned above. But, I can't help thinking it lacks finesse. It's a little rough around the edges and perhaps that brashness is exactly the charm this whisky will have to some. Personally, I think I would rather try another Bruichladdich expression next time, rather than buy the PC12 again. The Bowmore 15 Year Old Darkest is a more balanced example of the marriage of sweet sherry and smoky flavours.



Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the nose and palate of a Master Sommelier, however, I am working to train my senses to better identify whisky aromas and flavours. Consider all my whisky 'Impressions' to be a work in progress and I hope to come back to each of them in the future to see if I notice anything different. Most importantly, I'm not just throwing around random aromas, flavours and adjectives for the hell of it; I am trying really hard to critically describe each whisky I taste - WhiskyDad.

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