Archives Fishes of Samoa Port Charlotte 16 Year (2001)

Scotch Whisky Review #369: Archives Fishes of Samoa Port Charlotte 16 Year (2001)

Image Credit: Diving for Pearls.

Distillery: Bruichladdich.

Bottler: Whiskybase.

Region: Islay.

Age: 16 Year. Distilled in on July 18th, 2001. Bottled on September 14th, 2017.

Cask Number: 278.

ABV: 59.7% Cask Strength.

Price: Same courtesy of kravitz_hubris over at Diving for Pearls.

Color: 1.0, Deep Copper. Natural Color and Non-Chill Filtered.

Nose: There’s a light smoke that is the first scent to come out of this glass. Following the smoke is an onrush of meaty, savory notes. Steak juices and charred red meat pieces specifically. There’s a buttery dinner biscuit note that comes along with them as well, almost like mopping up a steak dinner plate with one. A maritime, briney note comes through as well along with some fruit. Canned peaches is what comes to mind.

Palate: It’s fairly hot at full proof and does need some watering down. It is smokier than the nose along with a bit of savory and a bit of fruit. With a few drops, it does calm down but the flavors here feel a touch muted. A grilled lemon note is the main player here. Some savory meat notes also come through along with a saucey note that is somewhere between HP brown sauce and tonkatsu sauce. It feels muted and restrained, almost as if someone left the volume dial at 2 or 3 instead of cranking it up to max.

Finish: Very long. That note of meat juices soaked up in a buttery dinner biscuit is strong and linger for a long time here. There’s some charcoal grilled fish and a bit of campfire ash as well.

Conclusion: Archives, the bottling line run by the folks at Whiskybase, has a strong reputation and quite honestly it is well warranted. This Port Charlotte is one that flirts with true greatness. The nose and the finish are frankly fantastic. They bring the best of what Bruichladdich can do by marrying smoky, savory, fruity, and maritime notes and coming up with a beautiful experience. Those notes of a dinner biscuit in steak juices followed by a bit of charcoal grilled fish are incredible and mouth watering to even remember and write about. What keeps this from true greatness for me though is how muted the palate felt in comparison. If the flavors there were a bit louder, this would truly be an unforgettable one. Overall, this is still very very good and I would be more than happy to have a bottle on the shelf.

Final Score: 84.

Scotch Whisky Review #369, Islay Review #59, Whisky Network Review #523

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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