Port Charlotte distillery from the village of Port Charlotte on the Isle of Islay closed in 1929 but reviewed for you here today through the magic of…marketing!
The purpose-built distillery of Port Charlotte was opened in 1828 and survived for just over a century. Today the warehousing still exists and is used to mature whisky for Bruichladdich distillery in the next village along on the Rhinns of the island.
The brand is owned and operated by Bruichladdich which use the name for their heavily peated range of whiskies. These whiskies have a peating level around 40ppm with the Bruichladdich brand being virtually unpeated at 4-5ppm and the Octomore range consisting of whiskies generally bottled around five years old and peated well over 100ppm as a minimum.
Before the buyout of the Bruichladdich distillery in 2014 there were plans to build another distillery and call it Port Charlotte. Stills and other equipment was procured from Inverleven distillery in Dumbarton for this when funds would allow. In fact, the still which used to sit on the front grass of the distillery was from Inverleven but the plans never came to anything and seem to have been abandoned by the distillery. The stills were sold to Waterford distillery in Ireland and are currently producing whisky in a converted Guinness brewery.
Released in March 2016 for the Global Travel Retail market or “Duty-Free” this is an interesting cask strength peated whisky. In the same launch event an eight year old Bruichladdich was also released at 50% ABV. I have also bought that one last year and it was an excellent example of a young, fruity and relaxed whisky for these summer months. A little cheaper than the Port Charlotte as well so one to watch out for is my advice.
Back with the Port Charlotte though and the label tells us two things. Firstly it carries not an age-statement but a vintage year of 2007 and secondly the “CC” which stands for Cognac Cask. In summary then we have a whisky full term matured in ex-cognac casks for around nine years. It was released at 57.8% ABV and as with all Bruichladdich distilled whisky products it is a natural colour and it has not been chill-filtered.
Being a GTR release getting a bottle of this could be slightly problematic if you don’t do much air travel. Other avenues are the distillery shop on Islay which will probably be even less helpful for you or a few websites carry it at a premium from time to time.
Master of Malt currently have it in stock here .
Colour – yellow straw
Nose – There is subtle peat smoke. This is quite a feature of both Port Charlotte and Octomore that the intensity of the peat smoke is quite restrained when you pour a glass. There is salinity and a touch of highland toffee. The most noticeable thing here though is an intense brandy aroma. In time though you can cut through and pick up some of the spirit barley notes
Palate – There is a little oak spices and dried fruit notes. The texture is very thick which again is a signature of the Bruichladdich stills. The development is quite substantial maltiness with caramalised bananas and some orange oil.
Finish – The heathery peat (from the mainland of Scotland) lingers in the finish with more of the meaty maltiness and fudge.
This is a bottle I had been looking to pick up for a while and I am glad to eventually get to try it. I think it gets better as the bottle develops and oxidising it in the bottle yields results. The first fill cask has been quite intense of the spirit over the nine years. The net result is you could be forgiven for thinking this whisky is a bit of a “one trick pony” but there is layers to it if you give it time.