Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 11th March 2016
How important is a name? Would people remember the legend of Pelé so well if he’d been called Keith? Or Elvis if he’d been called Clive? North Port distillery is a case in point because you have to wonder if it would linger longer in the imagination with a more interesting name. It started life as ‘North Port’ in 1820 but changed to ‘Brechin’ in 1823. Then Glencaddam opened in Brechin in 1825, so to avoid confusion it’s likely that Brechin distillery reverted back to its old name of North Port. Whisky production ceased a few times in the 1900s before the distillery permanently closed in 1983 along with numerous other distilleries.
It seems independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail (G&M) decided to cover both bases with this bottling and called it ‘North Port-Brechin’. Scoring 87/100 on Whiskybase is an excellent score and a review can be found here on ‘Alcohol and Aphorisms’. After two independent releases in 2008, Malt Madness stated that old stock from North Port was running out. According to Whiskybase only two new releases have appeared since then – one in 2010 by G&M and a second in 2015 by Cadenhead (a 38yo, which is still available from Whisky Barrel for £800!).
For tasting notes and comment here are the thoughts from Drinkwell off license, UK (where it originally retailed for £95):
Nose: Soft and finely balanced; almonds and mint and freshly cut grass. Fruit and wood. Cider apple, damson plums, honey. Dark chocolate.
Palate: Oily. Black chocolate. Bitter. Sour fruitiness. The spices and biting alcohol is even more enhanced with with water. Wood dominates maltiness. Reminiscent of a rye whiskey.
Finish: Robust, warm, biting. Lots of age; some cocoa notes. Toasty and dry. Lingers quite well.
Comment: Lovely calming oak influence. The nose is very impressive. Of interest to collectors, historians and the likes of me, but this Brechin brew, staunched in 1983 is as good as it gets.