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Exploring Bruichladdich's peated world of Port Charlotte.

Situated on the captivating shores of Islay, Bruichladdich's Port Charlotte single malts emerge as a testament to the artistry and dedication woven into every drop of these heavily peated whiskies. Embarking on a sensory voyage, this article delves into the distinct profiles of two remarkable expressions: the Port Charlotte 10 and the Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2014.


Port Charlotte 10: A Decade of Distinction


Paying homage to Islay's rugged landscapes and maritime influences, the Port Charlotte 10 stands as a pinnacle of craftsmanship. Peated to a robust 40 PPM (parts per million), this expression is the result of meticulous trickle distillation through tall, narrow-necked stills, infusing the spirit with the power of peat and the finesse synonymous with Bruichladdich's distillation techniques.


Crafted entirely on Islay, the Port Charlotte 10 is a celebration of provenance, distilled, matured, and bottled on the island. Made from 100% Scottish barley, it undergoes a balanced, heathery style of barbeque smoke. It embodies the essence of "Islay" whisky, a creation not governed by algorithms but watched over daily by those who shaped it. This is a spirit born from the island and its community, a genuine reflection of the land, culture, and people.


Aging gracefully for a decade on the shores of Loch Indaal, the Port Charlotte 10 undergoes a metamorphosis akin to sunshine on a winter's day, bringing clarity and lightness to its character. Visually, the journey begins with a primrose to crystalline quartz hue and upon approach the nostrils are tickled by dry, earthy smoke that is complemented by marine, ozone notes.


Dive into the delightful symphony of scents—a swirl of salted caramel brownie tempts the senses, accompanied by the zesty dance of flamed orange peel. A bold breeze of seaweed adds a touch of maritime mystique. Waves of golden caramel, fudge, vanilla custard, and hints of ginger and nutmeg unfold, accompanied by citrus fruit and floral aromas transporting you to the Atlantic coast.


The palate reveals a noticeable delicacy and softness, with smoke wrapping around sweetness drawn from deep within the oak, which intertwines with the briny embrace of sea air. A perfect union unfolds, marrying the robust notes of Custard Cream biscuits with the luscious essence of white grape, vanilla custard and lemon honey—a sweet serenade amidst the smoky waves, creating a harmonious symphony.


The grand finale reveals the lingering charm of ginger snaps, reminiscent of cosy moments, followed by the comforting warmth of rye toast, adorned with the embrace of drying peat smokiness, leaving an indelible mark on the palate - smoky, sweet with fudge and malted barley, and a medley of orange, mango, and Banoffee pie notes. Ripe apple and apricot dance with malt and oak sweetness, epitomizing the typical Port Charlotte style dry smoke.



Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2014: A Symphony of Agriculture and Community


Venturing even deeper into the heart of Islay's agricultural heritage, the Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2014 encapsulates the island's essence. Grown by eight local farmers within 15 miles of the distillery, the Islay barley undergoes a journey of risk, thriving in the face of unpredictable weather and the challenges posed by wild geese and deer.


Peated to 40 PPM and bottled at 50% ABV not unlike the core expression, this 2014 vintage matures in first-fill bourbon casks, second-fill Virgin oak, and second-fill Bordeaux wine casks.


Notes of malty digestive biscuits and peat pave the way for a sweet medley of apricot, peach, and ripe melon. This release represents more than a pursuit of flavour—it evokes a true sense of place, boasting total traceability and unparalleled provenance.


In essence, Bruichladdich’s Islay Barley 2014 is a community endeavour, the barley harvest of which is an ode to the Maxime of provenance, contributing not only to the whisky's complexity but also supporting Islay's integral agricultural community.


The Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2014 unveils a light amber hue and a nose laden with malty digestive biscuits, peat embers, sweet vanilla, honey, and a variety of fruity notes.


On the top of the mouth an initial citrus tang and sweet ripe fruit is married with gentle peat smoke, while a subtle marine character emerges. The balance of fruit and smoke remains unmistakable, showcasing apricot, peach, and ripe melon delicately wrapped in charred heather and peat embers. The finish is a beautifully balanced culmination of soft stoned fruit, toasted oak sweetness, and a subtle, dry barbeque smoke.


For anyone remotely enjoying the Port Charlotte core expression, the Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2014 takes things further as it is a quiet complexity, harmonizing fruit and smoke, and reflecting the depth and quality of this single malt.


A Symphony of Islay Craftsmanship


As we conclude our journey through the world of Port Charlotte, it's evident that Bruichladdie's commitment to Islay's heritage is not just a matter of distillation; it's a celebration of community, agriculture, and the island's unique terroir.


The Port Charlotte range stands as a testament to the rich traditions and unwavering passion that make Islay whiskies a cherished and unparalleled experience for enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike.


Each bottle is not just a beverage; it's a narrative, a journey through the rugged landscapes and rich traditions of Islay, which is brought to terra australis via Spirits Platform.


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Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of Bruichladdich.

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