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Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Heavily Peated

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@HewieReview by @Hewie

24th Jan 2018

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    88

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This is my first Port Charlotte. If I’m honest, I’ve probably steered clear of them because I think most of the Bruichladdich bottles are ugly – give me a traditional looking bottle any day (yes, I’m that fickle). Anyway, after reading many a review, it was @RianC who finally convinced me to try it. Thanks, mate. The blurb says: “Peated to a heavyweight 40ppm, Port Charlotte Scottish Barley is a multi-vintage cuvee crafted from casks hand-picked by head distiller Adam Hannett. This remarkable single malt, originally created by the legendary distiller Jim McEwan, represents a union between the classic floral elegance of Bruichladdich and heavy peat.”

I kind of like them calling this a cuvee because that’s really what it is. I love how you can go to their web site, enter your bottle code, and get a recipe for the batch you’re drinking including the number and origin of each cask type, and their vintage. This bottle, bottled in 2016, (Batch number 16/264) is a vatting of 58 casks, 3 vintages (2007, 2008, 2009), 4 cask types (including 48 ex bourbon, 8 Spanish red wine, 7 French white wine, and 1 sherry), and one barley type.

Nose: Salt, resinous reminiscent of pine needles, floral but herby, caramel and vanilla sweetness, slightly medicinal peat - slightly tar like. Peat fades over time and rounding out, leaving more sweetness reminding me of wild flower honey.

Palate: Sweet but sharp, clean and crisp, salty, slightly acrid smoke (creosote), herbal like herb flowers, wild flower honey, some citrus, and spicy.

Finish: Smouldering fire with the peat becoming more earthy and forest floor like, vanilla sweetness fades, eucalyptus or menthol, warm oak and spiciness lingering.

The mouthfeel is medium but the warmth of the 50% ABV carries through.

I like it. It’s clearly youthful but it’s so enjoyable – it’s just so easy to drink. There’s plenty to think about if you want to, but the last few times I’ve had it I’ve just enjoyed it for what it is – a delicious, fresh, sweet and smoky Islay whisky. Although it’s labelled ‘Heavily Peated’, it is no peat monster – just a lovely balance of sweet and smoke. On a side note, this reminds me somewhat of The Six Isles vatted malt by Ian Mcleod – it may be something to do with the variety of cask types used in this multi-vintage cuvee.

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10 comments

@RianC
RianC commented

Nice review!

"It’s clearly youthful but it’s so enjoyable – it’s just so easy to drink." Yes!

There's definitely a strong menthol note to this- more so than other Islays in my experience. Mine is getting low and I don't want to finish it but it really is so easy to drink considering its make up. I'd be interested to see how much, if at all, your bottle/batch varies to mine. I wonder if we could tell the difference in a blind taste?

3 months ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Hewie, thank you for your beautiful detailed review.

I've tasted this whisky only once and I wasn't too impressed with it. It may have been because it was in the tasting context of quite a few really great Islay whiskies. It looked meagre by comparison. It was also I believe a freshly opened bottle which may have been much better with a few weeks of air time I look forward to reassessing it in future experiences with it.

3 months ago 0

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

I love how they give the full recipe for each batch. And I love how interesting the recipe always is! Classic Bruichladdich, I suppose.

3 months ago 0

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@Hewie, I know I'm repeating myself from elsewhere, but since this is your first Port Charlotte, I'll say it again: Their other stuff is even better. A few months ago I gave myself a blind lineup of all the Port Charlottes I had access to, and the Scottish Barley, while good, was easily bested by all the others.

Now some of those others aren't really around anymore, but I highly suggest you seek out the Islay Barley. Around me at least, it's only $10 more, but it tastes 34.7% better.

3 months ago 0

@Hewie
Hewie commented

@RianC that would be interesting to compare our bottles. There has to be a high degree of consistency between batches but, at the same time, with different 'recipes' there must also be a certain amount of variation too. @MadSingleMalt thanks for the statistical analysis there: 10% more but 37.4% better - that sounds like a winner for sure. One of the other reasons I hadn't bought a bottle is that it does cost a bit more here. It's more expensive that the standard bottlings of Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain, Kilchoman, Ledaig etc. although it is a healthy 50% ABV. Having enjoyed this one I'll definitely be seeking out more. Does anyone else find that the bottle dribbles each time you pour? I feel terribly uncouth licking the drip as it runs down the neck of the bottle but waste not......

3 months ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

Yeah, those Laddie bottles are dribblers for sure. Forego decorum and lick it up!

3 months ago 0

@RianC
RianC commented

@MadSingleMalt @Hewie - I quite like the PC bottles! Not sure if I've had that problem but I'm generally a clumsy so and so, so hard to say ;)

Nikka Whisky from the Barrel - now that was a hard one to get out . . .

3 months ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

I like the goofy Bruichladdich turquoise bottles myself. They are cheery, albeit extremely odd-looking for bottles for whisky. And that you can't see through them is somewhat of a nuisance, as with the Octomores.

3 months ago 1Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

Nice review. I’ve been thinking about this one for awhile....

about one month ago 0

@Hewie
Hewie commented

@OdysseusUnbound yep, I'm still enjoying it - no regrets here.

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

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