Somehow, this is the first Port Charlotte I've ever tried. While I have had the earlier Bruichladdich Peat (and thought it was disgusting), PC has always garnered much more praise. Whether it's the high prices or lack of availability in the States, I've just never gotten around to it before.
So we start at the beginning. This is currently the entry level release in the lineup, produced entirely from Scottish barley, then aged in a mix of American oak ex-bourbon and European oak ex-red wine casks. The whisky is bottled at 50% without coloring or chill filtration.
I purchased this sample from Whiskysite.nl
Port Charlotte Scottish Barley
Nose: dominated by dry peat smoke, fresh herbal notes, a little roasted vegetable savoriness, Bruichladdich malt, pleasant dry oak behind, a touch of caramel, nutmeg and cinnamon, red wine in the background. After adding a few drops of water it remains relatively unchanged, but the peat shifts into more of an herbal mode, meshing with the nutmeg, and something floral starts creeping out.
Taste: everything lands at once and carries through to the back - pleasant malty sweetness, dry peat smoke, an appropriate amount of oak, citrus, and red wine in the background. After dilution the structure remains similar, but it becomes sweeter and the alcohol paradoxically has more heat.
Finish: carries through from the palate with a little more red wine and oak
I want to like this more than I do. The spirit seems good - there's no unpleasant funk, just solid peat smoke and Bruichladdich malt. But given what these NAS bottles go for, there isn't enough complexity to make me choose it over something like Ledaig 10 Year. With that said, I am curious to try the latest Port Charlotte 10 Year or some of the more well-received cask finishes, because I can absolutely believe that it has more potential than this.
14 hours ago