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Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Heavily Peated

Average score from 4 reviews and 8 ratings 89

Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Heavily Peated

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@Hewie
Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Heavily Peated

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.

@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 . . .

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.

@RianC

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.

@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.

@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.

@tjb

I enjoy my bottle of Bruichladdich Scottish Barley. It is close to The Laddie 10. This is heavily peated and BOOM, it is something special.

Port Charlotte is the Peated arm of those funky fellas at Bruichladdich. They make some lovely whisky and this is right up there. I have only tried one Octomore and whilst I wish I had tried more I think I might have found a close contender.

The colour is pale golden summer straw.

Nose – Saline, smoke, peat, fruity, lemon, pink peppercorns and sherbet drops. I could nose this all night, it is wonderful. Nicely balanced, complex yet accessible.

Soft and creamy, smoke upfront, followed by lemon, vanilla, peat comes along now and then gently warming spices.

The finish is long and of course, smoky. Surprisingly sweet and juicy.

There is a real finesse to this expression and if you like Islay it should be on your wish list. This has class and even though it's NAS it holds its own and then some against some of the better known Islay big hitters.

@talexander

I'm sure I've used that title before...Anyway, those of you who know me know I have a lot of issues with Bruichladdich. However, being a bit of a peat-head, I've enjoyed their Octomore and especially their Port Charlotte expressions. Named after a nearby village, Port Charlotte is the "heavily peated" variant of Bruichladdich (what does that make Octomore, the "ass-kicking bully" variant?). Peated to 40ppm and bottled using spring water from nearby Octomore Farm, the style is said to harken back to the times when two brothers, Robert Williams and John Gourlay Harvey, built the distillery in 1881 and ran it until just before WWII. It is non-coloured and non-chill-filtered, and is made from 100% Scottish barley.

The colour is a pale gold. On the nose, smoky and briny, with lots of juicy barley sugar. Lemon meringue. Fruity with kiwi and green banana. The smoke is like from a dusty, long-spent ashtray, but in a good way! Anise and cardamom. Very complex, nicely balanced. The smoke never overwhelms despite the high peating. A drop of water brings the peat before the smoke (yes, there is a difference and you can study that with this malt). Fantastic.

On the palate it starts off almost buttery, then becomes mouth-drying as the peat becomes apparent. That lemon has now turned to pithy zest with vanilla, sage and biscuits, with the peat winding its way through everything. Mouth-warming and delicious, especially with water which turns up the volume on everything.

The finish fills your mouth with citrus, gentle sweet smoke and more herbal tea notes such as cardamom and hibiscus. This is wonderful, bracing stuff, perfect on a cold snowy day like today. On the highly pretentious Bruichladdich website you can watch a short video of everyone who works at the distillery falling all over themselves praising this whisky. I don't blame them, but McEwan says it best when he calls it "Islay in a glass." Jim Murray scores this a 94.5.

@talexander. I'm On travel here in Florida. I just picked up a bottle bruichladdich port charlotte scottish barley heavily peat based on your review. I thought $60 was a reasonable price to pay. I've had a bottle of the 10y and An Turas Mor, both were great scotches. I'm looking forward to getting back and pouring a dram.

Thx for the review.

Well, I hope you like it - if you don't, I'm going to feel guilty about it!! Well, not really...

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