Bottler: Official Bottling
Age: 10 years
Casks: American and French oak
uncoloured / unchillfiltered
It came and it went, came back as a limited release – and is now back as a permanent expression in Bruichladdich’s heavily peated “Port Charlotte” range – new packaging and all: The 10 year-old! In recent Bruichladdich fashion, they even tell us the recipe: 65% 1st fill American casks, 10% 2nd fill American casks and a whopping 25% 2nd fill French wine casks.
Two weeks ago I was able to sit down with Bruichladdich’s Cristy for an hour at the distillery and chat about what’s new and upcoming (more on that in a separate blog post). On that occasion, I was kindly given a bottle of this new expression before it went out for general release (which should start right about now), so let’s crack it and test it! Oh, one more thing: Apparently the new, bespoke bottles for Port Charlotte (I like the raised lettering in glass on the back!) feature an anti-dripping lip. Err, okay. I usually don’t spill whisky – but I did when I opened and poured this one. Make of that what you will… 😉
Colour: light gold
The nose has a fresh, peppery kick to it upon first contact. Freshly cracked pepper with mint and tangerine oil mixed with fragrant, noticeable but not overpowering peat smoke. It takes a few minutes to fully open up. Now we’ve got sooty peat smoke mixed with aromas of whisky-marinated lamb steak, light vanilla, a hint of red berries, juicy pears, squeezed grapes, and the very typical French oak spices in the background. Interesting how much of an influence this 25 % share of French casks makes! Even more time in the glass mellows the spirit even more, bringing more of the fruity, dark components to light. Let’s move on to the palate!
Oily and immediately mouth-coating upon first contact. Rich, juicy and very palatable at 50% ABV, no water necessary. Vanilla, custard, lemon zest, sooty peat smoke, sweet pears, red apples, loads of apple skin, a single chocolate-covered strawberry, salted fudge and a welcome brininess. Not much oak influence on the palate (which is good, in this case). Mmmmmh, this is how I like my young, heavily peated whiskies – rich and full, still showing the spirit character and not overtaken but well-enhanced by casks. Not much more to say, really. The long finish is rich upon swallowing, full-on, with some pepper spiciness, lemon zest but immediately followed by a very oily, rich sweetness (vanilla, custard, salted fudge, juicy pears) before revealing a lingering, pleasant peat smoke sensation.
Verdict: Yes, it’s a good one. It’s not only the bottle that’s fancy, more importantly, the liquid inside is also worthy of a thumbs up. While the French oak was on the brink of being too much on the nose, the first sip got rid of all doubts – this is a very well-made, balanced, heavily peated, young Islay malt as it should be. Very pleased to see this will be a permanent product in the Port Charlotte lineup!
(Nose: 87 Palate: 90 Finish: 90)
Review bottle provided by Bruichladdich distillery