Port Charlotte 2003/2016 Blackadder ‘Raw Cask’
I’m guessing most of you know this, but Port Charlotte is the heavily peated whisky produced at Bruichladdich distillery. There’s not actually a Port Charlotte distillery somewhere, although there used to be one, but that closed way back in the thirties. Bruichladdich had plans to build a new distillery in Port Charlotte, but those plans seem to have been mothballed. So for now we’ll have to make do with the brand Port Charlotte, instead of an actual distillery.
And that’s not a punishment at all, because the Port Charlotte releases from Bruichladdich have received some great critical acclaim. Now there are also a lot of releases by independent bottlers, and the Port Charlotte we review today is an example of that. It was released earlier this year by Blackadder and has matured in what a I can only assume has been a first fill sherry cask. This is some dark spirit indeed!
Port Charlotte 2003/2016 (61,1%, Blackadder ‘Raw Cask’, C#622)
Nose: Damp wood and sweet red fruit, as well as baked bacon, brine and seaweed. A hint of rubber and lots of campfire smoke, but never overpowering. A great marriage between the spirit and cask.
Taste: More smoke, but now of the peat variety, accompanied by a pinch of black pepper and rock salt. A tad agressive maybe, but then again, it is well over 60 percent abv. Drying sherry notes, leather, beef jerky and toasted walnuts.
Finish: Peat (slightly rubber-y) smoke, meaty and briny. Long.
Sherry and peat is an almost unbeatable combination. This Port Charlotte is a great example of that. It costs around 150 euro, which is quite expensive. Nonetheless this is almost sold out.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.