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Let me start off with the fact that I have not got a lot of experience with Port Charlotte. This is only my fifth (and my third from this bottler Malts of Scotland). What makes this 9 Year Old Port Charlotte special is the fact that it has matured on a Rioja (white) wine cask.
The nose reveals little about the wine, I believe. Admittedly, this is much sweeter than the other PCs I have tried, but still the typical traits are there: cow-hide, almonds, seaweed, petroleum and peat. After a few moments, something that reminds me of ripe cheese. Borderline off-note… Luckily, it does not last long. Something sour as well. Would that be the Rioja? Probably. Adding water changes the profile considerably. The stable scent dissolves and lemon and especially toffee take its place.
With an alcohol level higher than most new make when it goes into the cask, it is no surprise that this is a scorcher. But wonderfully sweet. Some more peat now, but primarily a truckload of citrus and pepper. Midpalate, it becomes stunningly briny. Oh, dear, this is briny firewater! Adding water makes it a lot sweeter, but the brine remains in the middle.
The finish is spicy and long. It dies a silt death.
Port Charlotte has, in my book, proven beyond a doubt that it can develop a huge complexity at a very young age. This one is no different. Approximately 85 EUR.