Port Charlotte, Islay Barley

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Port Charlotte, Islay Barley, Heavily Peated.  50% ABV.

The Port Charlotte, Islay Barley, is a single malt Scotch whisky from the Bruichladdich distillery.  Their peated whisky is bottled under either the Port Charlotte or the Octomore name.  The peat component of a whisky is measured by the parts per million (PPM) phenol levels.  The Octomores are have very high PPM, in the 160-250 range.  This Port Charlottle, Islay Barley whisky has a PPM of 40.  The barley is from six farms on Islay, all designated on the bottle.  It is aged in ex-bourbon barrels for 5 years.

On the nose, the smoke is clearly present, but subtle.  There are elements of pear, and apple, producing a pleasant smoke-sweet blend.  On first sip, the peat comes on initially, but again not overpowering.  I find a malty sweetness, appricots mixed with salty elements, maybe salted cashews.  On mid palate there is smoke and a tease of  cinnamon.  The finish is medium, balanced, with the peat smoke mingling with fresh fruit sweetness.

I find myself going back and forth on this whisky.  Not from bad to good, more about where I place it in the good range.  Generally, when I think of peat, my leanings are more to the slightly higher PPM offerings of Ardbeg or Laphroaig.  I may have come to this thinking of an Octomore-light type of offering, and it is not that.  But, if I set that notion aside, I find this a very pleasant whisky.  Indeed, what makes this a very good dram, is it’s balance, one where no one element dominates.   I like the dance between light peat and the natural fruit sweet elements.  Another Bruichladdich which I am happy to have in my single malt cabinet.

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