What happens if you put together a wine cask maturation (here we go again) and a monstrously peated malt? Seeing that that’s a recent trend among some bottlers, I decided to explore it by immersing myself in a small tour de force of some whiskies displaying this peat and wine combo. In this article I’ll put on my explorer’s hat and will tell you about a Port Charlotte (2007-2018) matured in a matured in a cask that contained a red wine from the Vosne-Romanée region for over 10 years. It was bottled by Marco Bonn, the commander in chief of the German whisky shop Brühler Whiskyhaus.
Nose: Immediately peat smoke, with something reminding me of vinegar. Very sweet, almost too sweet maybe. But there is more to it, something zesty, acidic, like lemon. Lemongrass too, maybe? It’s very muscular, but it works. And it works even better with water, as the peat smoke, dry and steady and heavy, intertwines itself with a sweet sweet strawberry. Somehow there is even some shoe polish outta nowhere.
Taste: Chewy and dense smoke, very alcoholic. I resist the impulse of immediately adding some water and battle through the over 60% of alcohol, finding also something sweet and acidic, like lemon mixed with cherries. Lemonerries? Cherremon? I better add some water, otherwise I’ll keep blabbering nonsense. It becomes salty, and that sweetness has something of a caramelised meat. Still, it keeps being wonderfully (?) acidulous. After a while I almost forget the peat smoke, as I’m trying to focus on all the other things that are going on.
Finish: Medium length and, needless to say, acidic. And smoky. But also fruity (kiwi, maybe?), with a salty caramel note that quite surprises me.
Overall: Very tasty, very interesting, but also very challenging. I mean, it’s definitely not what I would call an “everyday whisky”. But then again, maybe you are one of those people whose daily summer read is Wittgenstein’s “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus“. Or maybe you are a person who likes to eat 4 huge falafel sandwiches everyday. I personally love it once in a while (the falafel, I mean), but you have to take it with moderation: 88/100. And now I ought to get myself that damn falafel.