Back in 2007, Bruichladdich acquired the old Port Charlotte distillery buildings with hopes to bring the old whisky brand back to life. But as it is with most things in life, it didn’t work out that way and the former continued distilling whisky in its own distillery but packaging it under the Port Charlotte brand. Then in June 2018, Bruichladdich announced the relaunch of Port Charlotte as a brand. It has finally hit Malaysian shores, and we can now enjoy the brand’s latest expressions including the Port Charlotte 10, a seriously peaty whisky.
With a relaunch comes a redesign — the Port Charlotte 10 bottle went through a total overhaul and now sports an opaque green glass, which is a homage to the heavily peated “Islay” category. The whisky itself uses barley exclusively sourced from the Inverness region in Scotland. “The provenance, authenticity, and transparency of our spirit are paramount. All our single malts are conceived, distilled, matured, and bottled only on Islay, unchill-filtered and colouring-free, using Islay spring water,” acknowledges Bruichladdich chief executive Douglas Taylor.
While most would hold on to the fact that intensely smoky whisky is an acquired taste, striking, and slightly difficult to go down, the Port Charlotte 10 is quite the opposite. On the nose, you encounter that signature peaty, smouldering smell. But once you take a sip, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that it tastes elegant, silky, and even has floral elements. This is thanks to the tall and narrow-neck spirit stills that Bruichladdich uses, which maximise the amount of copper contact with the vapour. You’d never be able to tell that the whisky is heavily peated to a level of 40 parts per million, consistent with its historic peating levels.
The Port Charlotte 10 is also matured in a combination of first fill ex-bourbon casks, second fill bourbon casks, and second fill French wine casks from Bordeaux. On the palate, the spirit has floral and oaky aromas, complemented by creme brulee, vanilla, and hints of nutmeg and clove. There is a significantly long finish with the peat showing itself once you let the spirit linger a little longer in the palate. It is slightly medicinal balanced out by sweetness and fruitiness, making this a palatable peated whisky. If you think that isn’t possible, try out the Port Charlotte 10 for yourself and make that decision.
(All images: All Is Amazing)