This heavily peated Port Charlotte is from Islay's Bruichladdich distillery, part of the cask exploration series it showcases the influence of wood on the heavily peated spirit. Distilled from 100% Scottish barley, from the Invernesshire region, this sweet and fruity spirit has spent time in first fill American whiskey casks and second fill French wine casks. These component parts have been combined and matured for an extra year in the finest French oak from the Bordeaux left bank.
Nose – Initially you are met with a summer fruit and peat smoke extravaganza! Raspberry and cherry, with Turkish delight and smoky driftwood embers burst from the glass jostling for attention. There is a distinctly summer feel to this dram, no brooding peat monster it has a light, bright and fruity air. As the whisky opens you find the Islay sea breeze, ozone and salty. The oak, both American and French give real depth to the dram, classic vanilla, toasted bread, chocolate, roasted coffee beans, liquorice walnut and almond. Each time you go back to the glass there seems to be a bubble of red berry and ripe plum bursting under your nose.
Palate – Certainly warming at 59.2%, lively and sweet with icing sugar and marshmallow, bound in smoke. There is a rush to capture all that is taking place. Sweet red fruit and peat smoke melt away slightly as the power of the oak comes through with tobacco leaf and toasted oak. Maple syrup, pecan and coffee are complimented by hints of orange and cooked peach. There is a complexity here that didn’t seem possible on the first sip. As you go back to the glass that initial rush of flavour has become a more complete experience. Now there is salt spray, dry smoke and the oak is more prominent, raspberry and plum combine with vanilla and butterscotch.
Finish – On the finish the peat smoke is a little more medicinal than normal, think bandages and creosote. A dryness from the oak tells of the toasting of the French and the char of the American and the final combination in premium French oak together. The influence of the extra maturation in sumptuous first growth casks has added a layer of fruit that weaves its way through the smoke and into the heart of the whisky. The spirit is viscous and textured allowing a long finish where creamy vanilla, spicy clove and ripe peach melt away from the powerful peat smoke allowing it to finish alone, leaving the Port Charlotte DNA firmly in place.
Tasting Notes Courtesy of Bruichladdich.