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  • Writer's pictureHarold

Port Charlotte

I've got the fire hose on standby today, for what I'm expecting to be a couple of young, peaty smoke bombs! Although truthfully, my palate hasn't really interpreted peat for "smoke" in quite some time. I really need to start writing some proper, formal articles on here to elaborate (or belabor) these types of points/discussions on a more clear, well-articulated level (if that's even possible for myself)…but the "TL;DR" version would basically state that when I'm doing a more analytical tasting, I tend to assimilate "smoke" as more of a burning (or charred) wood-type note rather than the traditional peaty. Peat usually gives me more of a vegetal/soil decay/medicinal vibe these days. As I'm guessing we might see here in a few moments...

Port Charlotte 2001/5 Year |Evolution - PC5 - Cask Strength| Bourbon Casks - 63.5%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Port Charlotte

2001/5 Year |Evolution - PC5 - Cask Strength|

Bourbon Casks - 63.5%

It only took 125 years for the Bruichladdich distillery to finally release a peated spirit. Their labels have gotten a bit confusing over the years, but even the nerdiest of whisky fans might not have known that the first expression of Port Charlotte was this bottling of "PC5," and that the "5" in this case, stood for 5 years of age. This kicked off a series of annual-ish limited expressions (concluding in 2014 with PC12) that showed off some of the aging versatility of this medium peated variant, often including stocks from the early days of its production (2001-2002).

Appearance: Pale/Medium brown

First Whiff: Wee Beastie...from a past life?

Nose: A "classic" peat bomb...sure, call it a cop out, but there really isn't any clear style of peat going on...just loads of medicinal, vegetal/mossy, salinic/briney seafood aromas guarded by a slightly alcoholic exterior. Distillate heavy of course...some chalky citrus and briney seaweed too... like a salty shellfish broth. With water: Much more approachable, and soft. The sweeter elements arrive with buttery popcorn, toasted coconut and some slight, buttery caramel.

Palate: Dryyy...drier than the Sahara. Creamy undertones carry this bright bag of orchard fruits forward. Past all the dryness comes some sour green apples, sour pears and fresh lemonade. With water: Still some bite there...but thankfully the creaminess, from the (assuming 1st fill) bourbon casks seems to coat some of the tart/drier side of the distillate. There's a bit of lemon cake now, too...very icy.

Finish: Sharp, and stabbing-ly tart.

Summary: About as expected from a quality young spirit. The influence from the bourbon casks were subtle but necessary. Without the creaminess this would've felt a little closer to a new make/peat bog cocktail. Clearly not a a "daily sipper" but I'm sure the market, back in 2006, would've just been happy to finally get a peak into the first stages of the evolution (see what I did there) of the first peated spirit from Bruichladdich.


Port Charlotte 2001/6 Year |PC6 - Cuairt-Beatha| Bourbon/Madeira Casks - 61.6%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Port Charlotte

2001/6 Year |PC6 - Cuairt-Beatha|

Bourbon/Madeira Casks - 61.6%

In 2007, PC6 introduced the Gaelic nicknames into this series. "Cuairt-Beatha" or Walk of Life also presented the exploration of non-bourbon/wine casks with their medium-peated spirit. In this case, spirit which fully aged in Madeira casks was vatted with stocks aged in bourbon casks to form this "limited" expression (only 18,000 bottles).

Appearance: Medium/Deep brown

First Whiff: Smoked oysters soaked in iodine.

Nose: Another smattering of peat here...very "mash-y." There's an obvious malt presence, found in a lot of younger whisky but with an added depth of honey and spices here, similar to beeswax. It's also giving a beach-y/coastal vibe too...some earthy/coastal elements...boggy, beach-y driftwood and seashells. More warming than salty. With water: Seared fruits, apricots, peaches and poached pears.

Palate: Creamy, like the PC5 but with some wonderful oily spices. Some heat is clearly present...a bit grassier than the nose would state...boiled potatoes cooked over a hay-bed. With water: A bit sweeter now, some buttery corn biscuits and ripe green apples with more of that grassy/boggy undertone.

Finish: There's a biting sense of peppery, vanilla extract followed by warm chamomile tea and some autumnal spice on the way down.

Summary: Another great look into where this style of spirit was going, back in 2007, though not one I would prefer to drink all the time...or at this strength at least. The Madeira might've played a part here, adding some of those fruity/spicy notes but at such a young age, it's hard to give too much credit to the casks when such feisty, peaty spirit is involved.




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