Port Charlotte 2007 8 Years Old (Cooper's Choice)
Port Charlotte is not a new distillery. In fact, it is not a distillery at all. While the name is a nod to a distillery which was once fully functional on the isle of Islay, that particular entity ceased production in 1929 due to financial difficulties and unfavourable market conditions.
In this case, Port Charlotte refers to a brand of whisky which is produced by Bruichladdich distillery and it is their way to pay homage to the long-dead distillery which was located within the village of Port Charlotte on Islay.
Considering that Bruichladdich has been unpeated for most of the past 50 years, this (along with Octomore, which is another brand owned by the distillery which has been named after a long-dead distillery) represents a much-appreciated foray into the peated end of the spectrum.
The Port Charlotte brand was kickstarted by recently retired former distillery manager, Mr Jim McEwan, who felt that the lack of a peated offering from the distillery was unacceptable considering where the distillery was located as well as the fact that Bruichladdich had historically been known for its peated whiskies.
However, rather than altering the unpeated Bruichladdich core range, Jim sought to create an entirely new range to cater to the peated end of the spectrum, thus giving birth to the Port Charlotte range of bottlings from the distillery. Most of the official Port Charlotte distillery bottlings have been bottled at cask strength in excess of 50% abv and have a phenol specification of 50-60ppm in the barley.
The focus of today's review would be an 8 year old expression from the distillery which was distilled in 2007 and matured in ex-bourbon casks before being bottled in late 2015 by independent bottlers Coopers Choice. Unlike its cask strength brethren, this bottling falls in line with the Coopers Choice range and is bottled at their standard abv of 46% and without chill filtration or the addition of colouring.
Port Charlotte 2007 8 Years Old (bottled by Coopers Choice)
Port Charlotte 2007 8 Years Old (46% abv, bottled by Coopers Choice)
Nose: Initial entry presents a pronounced briny note followed by some wood smoke, sea salt and peat. Lemon citrus and camphor also make an appearance after some time and there is a dry, phenolic note which is somewhat reminiscent of antiseptic.
Sweet malt coupled with wood spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg give this dram a complexity beyond its years and there's just a hint of oak lingering in the background.
Palate: Initial entry presents a sweet, malty note coupled with the dry phenol and spicy peat detected on the nose. Cinnamon and nutmeg also make an appearance alongside sea salt, oak and brine.
Rather coastal in nature, which is no surprise considering the location of the distillery, but the maltiness is typically Bruichladdich in style. Quite a more-ish and enjoyable dram on the palate.
Finish: Relatively long on the finish, but not particularly lingering and it does fade away rather slowly. Wood spices, sweet malt, peat and sea salt are the most apparent aspects of this dram and they are ever present from start to finish.
Balance: Quite a well balanced dram and it showcases the sweet, spicy, salty and peaty aspects relatively well. The mouthfeel is satisfyingly oily and there is a slightly drying feel towards the end.
The Port Charlotte 2007 8 Years Old is available for purchase by the bottle for in-bar consumption for $433 (with an additional service charge of 10% levied) and by the dram for $42 (with an additional service charge of 10% levied).
Alternatively, the expression is available for retail/takeaway for $303.10 without any additional service charge.
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