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I'm a huge fan of the Port Charlotte series from Bruichladdich. It is the brainchild of the legendary Master Distiller Jim Mcewan and is an experiment in cask exploration.
Port Charlotte sits in between the mildly or non-peated standard range and the highly peated Octomores. The PC spirit was laid soon after the distillery was re-opened thanks to the foresight of independent bottlers Murray McDavid. Jim Mcewan, who had worked at Bowmore since he was 15, was hired as Master Distiller and Production Director.
Under his guidance the PC series was born in 2001. The aim was to release a cask strength whisky every year from the time it reached five years of age. And so PC5 was the first in the series.
Now up to 11 the PC range has accumulated quite a following and for good reason too. No chill filtration, artificial coloring and served at cask strength this is a throwback to the days when there was no wifi and whiskies were hand made.
The PC 11 is titled Eòrna Na h-Alba which is Gaelic for Scottish Barley. Yes, you guessed it, all barley used in the making is Scottish. The spirit has been matured in Oloroso sherry butts and walks a lovely line between sherry sweetness and Islay flavors.
My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 59.5%
Nose: Quite salty. Lots of coastal sea air. Lemon. Peat. Hint of smoke. A little sour. Wet wood. Black peppers. Macaroon cake. Coconut. Caramel. Takes time for the nose to adjust. The fumes are super strong. A couple of drops of water opens it up quite nicely. What's not to like?
Palate: Smoke. Chocolate. Coffee beans. Peat. White pepper. Black peppers. Fish oil. Classic Islay flavors working well with the sweetness of the Oloroso. Adding a couple of drops makes it more palatable and creamier. Coffee comes out stronger as does the oak.
Finish: Cold cuts. White pepper. Oak. Chocolate.
This is not a beginners whisky by any standards due to the high strength and fairly strong peat levels. Takes very well to water, though. Can't wait for the PC 12!