I am not a peated whisky fan, but Port Charlotte is one of the few bottles I’ve been able to not only handle, but enjoy. This Port Charlotte 2005, part of Bruichladdich’s “The Distillery Valinch” bottling series, Single Cask #2087, aged in a 2nd Fill Sherry Cask for 12 Years is nothing short of special.
It’s delicious, the Port Charlotte peat is a cleaner, earthy, coastal peat, reminiscent of a beachside bonfire. It doesn’t have the iodine, Band-Aid, medicinal qualities of the more popular peat monsters, but it’s a welcome style that I appreciate. There’s a quality sherry cask maturation showing through, with a “sherry bomb” style, as well as the Port Charlotte peat’s smokiness.
The only points that prevent this from getting to “amazing” status is the medium viscosity mouthfeel (a thicker, oilier mouthfeel would’ve been stunning), and Bruichladdich’s famous malt is buried under the sherry cask, peat and wood. If we were able to taste more of the distinct types of barley they normally champion in this single cask, it would’ve been phenomenal, but even as is, I am thoroughly enjoying this bottle.
Earthy peat, but not overly heavy. It’s immediately integrated with notes of sweet raisins, stewed plums, caramel, figs. Sherry cask influence is strong here.
By halfway through the bottle, notes of vanilla, honey. Rich Christmas cake. Cinnamon.
On the front palate, beautifully integrated sherry cask notes: Dark stone fruits, raisins, figs, dates. Spicy ginger arrives as well, but it’s well-balanced, the beefy 59.3% ABV does not dominate, and it feels much more in control than the ABV.
Honey, caramel appear by the mid-palate, along with old furniture, leather notes. There’s a pleasing dark chocolate bitterness, and the ginger is already gently fading away at this point.
One note: In the first few drams after opening the bottle, the peat was much more intense. It was more prominent and bold, compared to the usual Port Charlotte 10 peat levels. Smokier, earthier, coastal, danker.
Halfway through the bottle, the peat feels more integrated, it’s still there, a lovely beachside bonfire (not medicinal like Laphroaig), but it’s nicely balanced.
Long. Initially you catch the tail end of the ginger fading (it already has a beautiful ramp down from the mid-palate), and it’s a warming sensation, nicely done for the 59.3% ABV. More sweet Christmas cake, dark chocolate, plums, figs. The beachside bonfire is now embers at the end of the night. Balanced sherry influence.