Saturday, January 11, 2014

Port Charlotte PC11 Eòrna Na H-Alba

The names. The names are getting longer. But when you do it in style, they are an excellent addition to the story and will tell the tale of their own. This one I can’t pronounce but most of the Gaelic escapes my tongue anyway. What does that mean, I don’t know but I am curious to find out. Alba most likely refers to Quercus Alba (American white oak). 

20140106-20140106125451-IMG_2569_small When I poured a dram to my nosing glass, I noticed immense smoke and tar that were strongly present. Also, I did notice that the bottle was very sticky and covered with some substance. For a brief, less than a second, I got worried but then I realized why this had happened. When we took photos of this whisky by (and in..) a bonfire there was a lots of pine and pine’s needles. So this bottle is now covered with some tar, that will produce it’s own nosing qualities when present in a room. Usually, I don’t mind smoke and tar, but this may affect my story a bit. However, whisky itself was not harmed when taking photos.

20140106-20140106125957-IMG_2704_small This was indeed a hard to find bottle for me. It is a travel retail limited edition only, so you can’t find it outside airports and such very easily. I had already lost hope and almost booked up a flight to Scotland, but luckily we took a ferry to Estonia (from Finland) and to my surprise (and amazement) there were lots of these bottles – and in a reasonable price too! For less than 80 euros, it was not bad find!

PC11 is bottle at cask strength (59.5%) and it is the oldest of Port Charlottes (11 YO) so far. Matured in premium oak casks and finished (or matured, I don’t actually know) in ex-sherry casks this is a interesting combination. PC series has grown interestingly over the years. I got into these with PC7 and PC8 and got to taste PC6 at a whisky pub, so I am very happy to add this dram to my list!

There is no coloring and no chill filtering. Raw and pure, the color is sherry tainted red. Almost a classic look. The nose is strong and filled with alcohol. Some sherry but due to taking photos lots of tar and smoke are present. Let’s just say, if you have a flu – this will open up your nose if you inhale via it deeply.

The taste waits for a split-second. It gathers strength and then attacks with a haymaker using a telemark style. None of the drunken boxing is present, but the blows hit deep. Sweet sherry, harsh character, peat and oak kata do find their way through your defense. Rawness has power and character, but after a moment it will settle down and you will feel warmth and joy. This is not a nonsense whisky, it has a big boom and demeanor of a angry bull with bad temper. You may fear, but you will laugh. This is not meant to taken lightly nor easily. It is about the aftertaste and sensation where you will ascend and descend at the same time. Dragon’s will feel envy towards this one’s fire. Use small sips and enjoy, this is a dram of my style.

The taste afterwards is sweet and includes sherry. This is not a peat nor sherry bomb, but more balanced in that sense. Tasty and pleasant, that will leave you feel the warmth for a long time.

Usually I don’t do this, but I did add some water to this dram as a experiment. The dragon is gone, but instead it is easier and has more complex taste. Of course, right after the full attack, it feels a bit bland but not bad, not bad at all. With some added water, it is easier to enjoy and to taste – so in case you want to offer this to your less experienced friends, instruct them how to add a drop of water.


  1. "Eórna na h-Alba" means simply "Scottish barley" keeping with the recent line of having published both Octomore 6.1 and NAS Port Charlotte labeled as "Scottish Barley".
    Alba is the name of Scotland in Gaelic. (sorry, nothing to do with white oak this time)
    Furthermore it is matured in sherry oak (as you can find out when visiting the Distllery's web pages).

  2. Thank you for information & corrections!