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Port Charlotte is a single malt whisky brand produced at Bruichladdich on Islay. It’s creation was inspired by the long lost Lochindaal distillery (initially known as Port Charlotte) which stood around two miles along the coast from Bruichladdich.
Lochindaal was founded in 1829 by a man named Colin Campbell. It operated for a total of 100 years, passing between owners, one to the next, before finally coming under the control of DCL (now Diageo), who chose to shut it down in 1929. Many of the distillery buildings still stand today and even remain in use, not least the bonded warehouses, utilised by Bruichladdich for their original purpose of storing whisky.
‘Peat only is used in drying the malt‘.
Upon his 1885 visit to the distillery, famed whisky journalist Alfred Barnard found Lochindaal producing a typically peated Islay spirit. It made sense then, that Bruichladdich should choose the Port Charlotte name for their new heavily peated whisky when it came of age in 2006. An idea was even put forward to construct a new distillery, close to the original Lochindaal site, but alas, this seems to have come to nothing. Instead, the Port Charlotte brand has become a crucial part of the distilleries output, occupying a space in between the unpeated Bruichladdich and the ‘super heavily peated’ Octomore.
Earlier this year, Bruichladdich launched the 2nd edition of the 10 year old Port Charlotte. Bottled at 50% alcohol by volume, it retails in the UK for around £55.
Smell: Surprisingly, smoke isn’t immediately dominant on the nose. Instead, Creamy Vanilla and Fudge notes come first, then Melon and finally some Aromatic Smoke wafts in with a touch of Brine.
Taste: Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Pineapple and Peach, Pepper and some Malty notes with an undercurrent of Peat Smoke – mellower here than in some of the other PC’s I’ve come across – and nowhere near as medicinal as some of it’s neighbours.
Value for Money: £55 may seem steep for a 10 year old malt but when the quality is this good and the presentation is completely natural, with no filtration and no colouring, I feel it is rather justified.
A very pleasant dram indeed though I must say, I prefer the somewhat punchier NAS versions of the Port Charlotte. Here, ten years of maturation has tamed the peat somewhat, leaving a mellower yet arguably more balanced dram.