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Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Heavily Peated

Peat, Anyone?

5 3189

@RianCReview by @RianC

18th Dec 2017

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Overall
    89

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I opened this bottle a few days ago and rarely pay too much attention to detail to begin with but this has been quite intrusive and demanded my full, and appreciative, attention.

This has a very peaty nose on first contact, as you'd expect/hope; but it's a familiar yet new kind of peat to me in the way, say, something like Ledaig has its own character. It's recognisably Islay and there's hints and nods to all of those I've tried, whilst offering something new and unique.

Rather than a primarily TCP or smoke hit, I'm getting more of a Tiger Balm or Winter Green note. Well not so much note as crescendo. There's some fruit there; sour pineapple and soft banana. There's also a slight bitter, minty herbal note and a touch of salt. It's clean, fresh and inviting.

Taste is very much sweet up front; the same fruit notes which seem to squish out their juice and soak your mouth - it's a decent length development where that fruit note just keeps going. Then it becomes drier and sour and leaves a distinctive white pepper and mustard note.

The peat is intense and blankets the whole experience from the start and it finishes with a very dry mineral peatyness that fades to light tannins. Quite a long one. I really like the mouth feel on this as well, it's full and juicy without being cloying or too oily.

With time or a few drops of water (I'm having this one neat but it's sat about 30 minutes) some very soft vanilla comes out.

As soon as I tried this I knew I liked it but it was certainly a little brash and youthful. Just three days later and it's already mellowed quite a bit; that edge has just softened enough. I get the sense this will keep on developing with time and air. Glad I bought this and have invested in the 10 2nd Ed on the strength of it. I think it's the crispness of it, despite such heavy phenolics, that really stands out for me, that and it is clearly well made stuff. Very good.

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31 comments

@Hewie
Hewie commented

Nice review - you're really selling it to me! This has been on the list for a while so I'll have to give it a crack sooner or later. Cheers

9 months ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Hewie & @BlueNote - I think I prefer this to the Laga 8, which is a fine whisky and more refined, but seems to lack the phenolic thwack I was hoping for. This delivers in spades and yet still manages to have a subtle complexity of its own. Can't wait for the 10!

I have a feeling that in a few years when PC gets more 'embedded' on the scene it will be giving the big guns a run for their money. So long as Bruichladdich stick to their guns . . .

9 months ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@RianC, I would agree that PC Scottish Barley is better than Lag 8.

It sounds like this was your first PC, right? I'd say you're in for a treat then! In my experience, Scottish Barley is totally fine, but every other PC I've had is even better. (I've not had the 10, though.)

9 months ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@BlueNote, I only ever had one bottle of the original Laddie 10 (the one from around 2014 or so) and I wasn't too excited about it. I'd take any PC over that.

And @RianC, I just saw in that "which bottle did you just buy" thread that you've sampled a number of PCs in the past, before buying the Scottish Barley. So forget what I said above. wink

9 months ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@MadSingleMalt - I've tried PC before at a festival, it was a 12 year single cask (bourbon) and was truly excellent. Also tried an 8 year old IB Octomore which was again, really good. This is the first bottle I've 'owned' though, yes.

I agree though, and get the feeling I may have found an Islay distillery to rival Ardbeg . . .

@BlueNote - I have the Laddie 10 2nd edition but it is unopened so not much help, sorry.

9 months ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@MadSingleMalt - It would appear we typed at the same time ha!

9 months ago 1Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

Thanks guys. Something for me to try in the new year.

9 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Hewie
Hewie commented

@RianC I just bought a bottle of this too. Did you check the cask make up for your bottle? I entered my bottle code on the Bruichladdich website and it is an interesting mix of casks (note the white French wine casks): [NO. CASKS] 08 [VINTAGE] 2009 [BARLEY ORIGIN] SCOTTISH MAINLAND [CASK TYPE] SPAIN RIBERA DEL DUERO RED HOGSHEAD 1ST FILL [NO. CASKS] 14 [VINTAGE] 2007 [BARLEY ORIGIN] SCOTTISH MAINLAND [CASK TYPE] USA BOURBON BARREL 1ST FILL [NO. CASKS] 21 [VINTAGE] 2009 [BARLEY ORIGIN] SCOTTISH MAINLAND [CASK TYPE] USA BOURBON BARREL 1ST FILL [NO. CASKS] 07 [VINTAGE] 2008 [BARLEY ORIGIN] SCOTTISH MAINLAND [CASK TYPE] FRANCE LOIRE SWEET WHITE HOGSHEAD 2ND FILL [NO. CASKS] 07 [VINTAGE] 2008 [BARLEY ORIGIN] SCOTTISH MAINLAND [CASK TYPE] USA BOURBON BARREL 1ST FILL [NO. CASKS] 01 [VINTAGE] 2007 [BARLEY ORIGIN] SCOTTISH MAINLAND [CASK TYPE] SPAIN SHERRY BUTT 2ND FILL

8 months ago 0

@RianC
RianC commented

@Hewie - Funnily enough I checked it at the weekend. I couldn't tell without checking again whether some of the wines were red or white but that seems pretty similar to what went into mine. Basically a variety of French wine casks, a little virgin oak and ex- bourbon. Also noted the oldest in it was 12 years and the youngest 6 - 7.

Very good of them to do that, imo.

8 months ago 2Who liked this?

@Hewie
Hewie commented

@RianC I've only had a 1/4 dram last night but wow! On the finish I thought there's that menthol note people talk about in whisky but I've never really noticed much before (your wintergreen). I'm looking forward to sharing this with a friend.

8 months ago 1Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood commented

@RianC, nice review, looks like you're quite satisfied with your purchase. These editions (Classic Laddie and PC Scottish Barley) don't seem to have the sex appeal of some of their brethren but they can hold their own.

If you've purchased the 10 Mark II you won't be disappointed, it's also vatted from bourbon,sherry and wine casks. Not as punchy as expressive on the nose but the palate is nice and bold. I've only had a few drams from my bottle and still need time to unpack it. I like it enough to seek out a second bottle... Sigh.

BTW how cool is it to check out the vatting recipes? I love this feature and wish everyone did this.

8 months ago 3Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@cricklewood After I'd had a few drams of my Laddie 10 MK2 I got back to the store and grabbed another one for the bunker. Lovely stuff and even better after a few weeks of air.

Cheers

8 months ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@BlueNote How does the Laddie 10 second edition rank vs the original laddie 10? I have the latter deep in the bunker and was wondering if I should be looking for the new version.

I liked the Laddie Classic better than the 10 but that was years ago. My palate has changed.

8 months ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@Nozinan I had the original when it first came out and I recall doing the same thing i.e. grabbing another real quick. It was very good (Ralfy's whisky of the year as I recall). This second version is every bit as good. One blind sip and you would know immediately that it is Bruichladdich. The hallmarks are unmistakeable. You should dig one of your originals out of the bunker and enjoy it.

8 months ago 0

@RianC
RianC commented

@cricklewood - They sell the Classic Laddie at Waitrose. Going off my experiences with Bruichladdich so far if I see it on offer I may have to pick a bottle up.

I think the lack of age statement put me off but I heard the new head distiller explaining about why this is (packaging, mainly) and that they hide nothing - hence the batches being available on line. Although it's a very minor inconvenience to some to check (I quite liked having a look what was in my bottle fwiw) I'd say that counts as an age statement and some.

It's a sign of the times but that distillery seem to be adapting to it in a very commendable way.

8 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@RianC What you see in the stores is the Classic Laddie. What I liked the best was the Laddie Classic, which was released before the original 10. I'd gladly trade one of my 10s for one of those...

8 months ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Nozinan - I have the 10 2nd ed. of this one along with the PC. It would be interesting to sample the CL and the ten side by side.

I'm getting the feeling Bruichladdich don't really put out any shite!

8 months ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@RianC, thank you for your nice review. I am curious to sample from your bottle of PC Scottish Barley Heavily Peated. I have only tried it from one other bottle, when it first came out 2 or 3 years ago, and I wasn't too impressed at the time. It might have partially been that I was tasting it in the company of some very heavy hitters in the peated category, or it may have been a somewhat weaker batch. Tiger Balm? Winter Green? Curious.

In general I have long been a fan of Bruichladdich, liking, as does @pete1969 and others, their wild and weird variety of products. I have three bottles of The Laddie Ten squirreled away, when they were about to be discontinued for a time. Laddie Ten re-emerged about a year later, and I have not tasted the 'Second Edition' of that one. The Bruichladdich Scottish Barley (unpeated) is one I use to illustrate the taste of an unadorned barley-malt whisky.

I am hoping that Bruichladdich manages to put out a steady stream of decent batches of Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Heavily Peated, because this NAS Port Charlotte is the Port Charlotte which is most likely to remain widely available for the near future. Something like PC7 has become a rare and vanishing breed to see on a shelf anymore.

8 months ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Victor - arranging a sample may be quite the kerfuffle but I would be happy to oblige!

The Winter Green note is an unusual one but definitely there for me. I guess similar to the TCP of Ardbeg but with a more herbal, minty, eucalyptus thing going on. I really like it.

re the NAS I suppose technically it is classed as a collection of vintages that one can see the ages of (if you have internet access), so I'm not sure if it can be seen as a 'NAS' or not? My bottle was between 6/7 and 12 years iirc. Mostly younger stuff though.

8 months ago 0

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@RianC: "I'm getting the feeling Bruichladdich don't really put out any shite!"

Perhaps that's because you never tried "Rocks"? wink

8 months ago 1Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@MadSingleMalt I seem to recall one called Waves that I had years ago. The very definition of shite.

8 months ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

Was it Rocks, Waves and Links that were part of a special trio release? I tried Rocks, when my BIL opened his bottle. It wasn't memorable. I am now wondering what to do with my bottle. Save it? or try it?

I think I'll put it on the to open with a group list, for historical reference. That way if it is bad I can convince someone to take it home.

8 months ago 0

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@Victor I’ve found Aultmore 12 to be a great “plain-Jane” scotch. I’m liking it despite some people thinking I’m against anything unpeated. ;)

8 months ago 0

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@Nozinan, I believe it was Rocks, Waves, and Peat. Links was a whole different thing.

O, the bygone days of endless Laddie releases.

8 months ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@MadSingleMalt I sit corrected.

I do have a bottle of Peat (and one dram left of my first bottle in a small sample bottle). I did like this one.

8 months ago 0

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@Nozinan

This might not be the Laddie official line, but I think it's fair to say that the old "Peat" was the same stuff that we today call "Port Charlotte."

8 months ago 0

@nosing
nosing commented

Octomore 08.1/167ppm I sampled this in October at Bruichladdich, and I am not a peat lover, but I enjoyed this with just wee drop of water. We brought some back to Quebec as we can not buy this one here in Quebec :( Taste: I disagreed with my wife I could taste the vanilla hints in this and of course the smoke and peat. Slàinte

8 months ago 2Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood commented

@RianC, the Classic Laddie can vary quite a bit based on the composition, (I've been working on a head to head review of two batches for my blog). You could do a little reccon mission and check the details of batches available near you beforehand.

If you can a low price supermarket sale price then might be worth it otherwise if your watching your cash flow, you might want to hold of for a special bottle.

8 months ago 1Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood commented

@Nozinan yeah the series was Waves, Rocks, Peat. They were not always well received. Rocks was pretty crap, the first batch of waves (7 year age statement dark tin) was not great but the second batch (light blue tin) was actually decent, I remember having that quite a few times and digging it but as you've said our palates have changed.

Peat was indeed a precursor to the port Charlotte range, I believe the order was, 3D, Peat, Peat Project and then they started the PC cask strength releases.

8 months ago 1Who liked this?

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