Port Charlotte is a brand of single malt whisky produced at Bruichladdich on Islay. The creation of the brand was partly inspired by another distillery, Lochindaal, which once operated in the heart of Port Charlotte village, just a couple of miles along the coast from Bruichladdich.
Lochindaal Distillery was built in 1829 by a man named Colin Campbell and ran for 100 years, passing from one owner to the next, before finally coming under the control of DCL (now Diageo), who chose to shut it down in 1929. Many of its buildings are still in use, not least the bonded warehouses which are now used, by Bruichladdich, for their original purpose – storing whisky.
When Alfred Barnard visited Lochindaal distillery in 1885 he described the kiln as using ‘nothing but peat’ for fuel, so when the folks at Bruichladdich were seeking a name for a heavily peated expression of their famously unpeated spirit, Port Charlotte was deemed a fitting choice, honouring the legacy of their former neighbour. For a while, there were even plans to build a new Port Charlotte distillery where Lochindaal once stood but alas, this seems to have been shelved.
Launched in 2001, the Port Charlotte brand has been a great success with countless versions released over the years. This particular expression is the 2nd edition of their 10 year old and is bottled at 50% ABV and available for around £55.
The Scores: About the Scoring…
Smell: 18.5 / 20. 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: 19 / 20. 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: 7.5 / 10. £55 may seem a little steep for a 10 year old but I don’t mind paying a little extra for something of this quality, bottled at a decent ABV and without filtering or colouring.
Total: 45 / 50. A very pleasant dram indeed, though I maybe prefer some of the No Age Statement Port Charlotte’s that seem to pack a peatier punch. Ten years of maturation has tamed the peat somewhat, leaving a smoother though arguably, better balanced dram.