Bruichladdich’s Port Charlotte line of heavily peated whiskys is a favorite of peat heads. Keeping with the rather unique emphasis on terroir, the core expressions include the Scottish Barley and the Islay Barley (reviewed here), with the PC series serving an annual release which has migrated into travel retail specials in recent years (currently up to PC12, after starting with PC5 in 2006).
But Bruichladdich isn’t the only one bottling Port Charlotte whisky. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has recently bottled its 40th barrel of Port Charlotte whisky (distillery code 127), coming from a refill bourbon hogshead and is 12 years old, having been distilled in June of 2002. The release was aptly named “Mango Chicken Vindaloo”.
Port Charlotte 12 – SMWS Cask 127.40, Distilled 21.6.2002, Outturn of 159 Bottles (63% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Deep gold, slow forming legs that leave a lot of residue.
Nose: Very light BBQ meat, peaty fruit salad, ash, hay, turmeric, singed banana, dry spices, honey and hickory. Water brings out complexity and makes the layers distinguishable with more sweetness and pronounces the ash taking the fruit more toward the tropical with papaya and light notes of pineapple.
Palate: Very Port Charlotte, almost Octomoresque with ash, malt and a sweetness coming through after the initial peat. This expression is chewy and meaty. With water, it becomes more like the “normal” Port Charlotte leaning toward the sweet side.
Linger: Ash and spices on the tongue with a lingering sweetness. The Spicy linger in the back of the throat fades quickly but the back part of the tongue remains steeped in peat and a light tanginess tickles the mouth.
Had it still been available, it would have been a definite buy recommendation. Complex and classically Port Charlotte it actually is better with water and once allowed to breath. Nice stuff.