Port Charlotte distillery was founded in 1829 by Collin Campbell and was called “Lochindaal distillery” originally, and was finally closed in 1926 but it’s buildings still stand in place of the original location, some are used as a youth hostel, a garage , and its warehouses are used by the Bruichladdich distillery.
On March 2007, Bruichladdich distillery has announced its plans to “revive” and open this old distillery, which most of its equipment have been brought from the defunct and to be demolished “Interleven” distillery (2003). Since then the Economic cries has shed a great shadow on the whisky industry and entire business community, and the plans to rebuild and operate the new “Port Charlotte” distillery were put on hold.
Since 2001, however, Bruichladdich have been distilling new spirit under the “Port Charlotte” label, not waiting until the new distillery site is to be built. The Port Charlotte (or PC) line is heavily peated (at 40 ppm), and its initial expression the PC5 was released to the market (aged 5 ) in 2006 , followed by releases of PC6,PC7, And PC8 released in 2009. Bruichladdich have chosen to release the spirit once a year, to allow us to see the path of maturation, and asses the spirit in each stage in sequence for 4 consecutive years. Each year the expression released also bears a different name (in Gaelic , of course). This idea of letting us experience the spirit in its path to becoming an older matured malt from age 5 to 8, is very interesting, yet not unique to PC. It was formerly used by Ardbeg in its (‘very young,‘still young’, ‘almost there’, ‘Renaissance’ bottlings) , and also currently used by the Glenyle distillery and their “Kilkerran : Work in progress” line.
I’ve been meaning to try some of the PC family members, since they have been getting very good feedbacks in the Whisky Bible, and also by Serge’s Whiskyfun but only now, got a nice sample of PC7 (thanks keith !) . hopefully I shall sample PC8 too, and when I do post a comparison of those 2.
Now, that we’ve got all the history and details covered, let’s go on and sample this nectar:
Port Charlotte PC7 ‘Sin An Doigh Ileach’ (It’s the Islay way) , 61% ABV
Nose: Starting on the signature Laddie nose. PC or not PC, this is Laddi-Land. The well known “Condensed Milk” kind of fruity sweetness. Then after a second we dive deeper into Peat-Land:Whoa! We’re in Islay that’s for sure. Amazing mingling of Peat Bogs, Smoke, Ashes, peat fires, and some camp fire (have you ever been to the boy scouts? , this kind of fire, yeah!) and also some rubber tires. I call this Sweet and sour.. Wonderful nose. One cannot ask for more.
Palate: The palate is continuing what the nose had promised. The Condensed milk is gone, but is replaced by sweet smoke, Burnt sugar. The Peat is omnipotent here, and is very much ashy. Many similar notes to the 3D3 I’ve previously reviewed, but with more intensity and power (due to the much higher ABV). The ashes are mingling wonderfully with the sweet smoke, Burnt sugar, and also some rubber tires. In 3 words: Sweet, smoky and spicy.
Finish: Very long and luxuries finish : Peat, Smoke, Burnt sugar (bitterness) , Dark chocolate and Spice (Chilly) are playing for endless minutes on your entire palate. I dig this.
This is not a dram for those who do not appreciate peat, and very strong and mascular malts. For a peat head like me, this is peat heaven, very comforting and the extra ABV (61%!) is noticeable and gives that extra punch. I do like it more than the 3D3 (but not a whole lot more) . I am very keen on trying the other PC releases. Port Charlotte distillery is still not operating, but PC is live an kicking. If you enjoy “in your face” peated malts, this is one to have handy on your whisky Shelf.