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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

May 20, 2017




Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild

Three Port Charlotte

In anticipation of heading to Islay for this year’s festival at the end of the month and as a new private bottling of Port Charlotte by Ralfy crossed my path this week I though a few Port Charlottes wouldn’t go amiss Serge.


Port Charlotte 10 yo ‘Second Edition’ (50%, OB, 2016)

Port Charlotte 10 yo ‘Second Edition’ (50%, OB, 2016) I wasn’t totally blown away by the first batch of this one but Port Charlotte is always a fun whisky to follow... Colour: Gold. Nose: All on farmyards and ash at first. I find Port Charlotte by far the farmiest of Islay whiskies. Goes on pleasantly with kelp, brine, oysters and some lemon juice. Some nice smoky barley notes after a while, like peated porridge oats if such a thing exists (if it doesn’t it damn well should!). With water: becomes a little lighter with water, some beach bonfire smokiness, really and ember like smokiness. A little more assorted citrus fruit and sea greens. Mouth: I think the 50% really works here, the delivery is powerful but not over the top and the farminess brings a nice consistency with the nose. Some green fruit such as gooseberry and green apple peelings. Twistings of white pepper, smoked tea, iodine and some wet wool and pebbles. With water: ah, this really works well with water. A lovely combination of something like sea water, iodine and lemon peel. Some peat oils, green fruit and a lithe tarry note as well. Finish: Good length, oily, citrusy and with a resurgent farmy echo. Comments: A very solid and idiosyncratic Islay malt. Very well made and put together in my opinion. One for friends and late nights. SGP: 558 - 90 points.



Port Charlotte 2007/2016 ‘CC:01’ (57.8%, OB, Travel Retail Exclusive, ex-Cognac casks)

Port Charlotte 2007/2016 ‘CC:01’ (57.8%, OB, Travel Retail Exclusive, ex-Cognac casks) Bruichladdich seem to have quite a few Travel Retail bottlings these days. Colour: Light gold. Nose: Hotter, ashier, angrier and obviously younger than the 10. A ‘tantrum’ of peat in the glass. Some sharp notes of lemon juice, green olives, mercurochrome and after a little while more farmy notes. I wonder if we could start calling these farmy notes in Port Charlotte ‘trademark’ Serge? If they’re still there in 10 years how about the ‘Brora of Islay’?  Goes on with smoked grist, engine oil and all manner of seashore aromas. I think water is obligatory here... with water: the peat becomes softer and sort of wider, like an organoleptic peat quilt (???). It also brings out some quite deft notes of lemongrass, gorse, cocoanut and even something a little minty. Really lovely nose. Mouth: Surprisingly soft at cask strength and here the Cognac seems to have a voice with some kind of unexpected raisiny, syrupy notes. A little jarring with the peat which feels a little disjointed as a result. But there are plenty of pleasingly citrusy, oily and coastal sideshows going on to make it perfectly quaffable all the same. With water: water seems to cure the slightly jarring Cognaciness. Becomes more medicinal as a result, quite strikingly so in fact with notes of pure hospital, gauze and various medical tinctures. Finish: Long, lemony, ashy, medical and with some unabashed, raw, green peatiness. Comments: What’s most impressive is that you really forget that this one is only about 8 years old. I prefer the 10 but overall quality is still high. SGP: 549 - 87 points.



Port Charlotte 12 yo (56.2%,, sherry hogshead, cask #941, 233 bottles)

Port Charlotte 12 yo (56.2%,, sherry hogshead, cask #941, 233 bottles) A private bottling by the beloved and (in)famous Ralfy, king of the whisky Vlogosphere and sold by the mighty folks at The Good Spirits Co in Glasgow. (They may have some bottles left). Colour: Deep amber. Nose: There is bacon frying in a forest and everyone has shown up in muddy boots to eat it. Of all the modern Islay distillates I think that Port Charlotte is probably one of the best at knitting itself together with an active sherry cask and on the evidence so far this one is pretty clean, earthy and alive with a kind of nervous Atlantic saltiness which is very pleasing to the nostrils. Goes on with hints of dunnage, compost and more farmyard notes which balance well with the saltier aspects. With water: Leafier, earthier and more organic with notes of pipe tobacco, a little rancio, some fresh Manzanilla and a big whack of peat and green olives. Mouth: A lean and salty beast at first! Big notes of salted almonds, kippers, black olives in brine and various posh cured meats. The sherry is impressively clean and gives a nice leathery, leafy impression with plenty room for the peat to swish its blade about. With water: Tar, rope, dunnage, peat oils, more brine. This is a beast of a thing but farmy, coastal, thick and quite a bit of fun. Goes on with some tea tree oil, notes of Rhum agricole and various oils. Finish: Long, fat, earthy, tarry and gently coastal on the fade. Comments: A really good, clean sherry cask which worked beautifully with some top notch Port Charlotte distillate. I tend to find a lot of modern, peated Islay whiskies can feel a little clumsy in sherry casks these days, but this one was a winner. SGP: 548 - 91 points.









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