Bruichladdich is fast becoming one of my favourite Scottish distilleries. Labelling themselves as “Progressive Hebridean Distillers”, the distillery successfully combines traditional values, with a willingness to experiment. This ethos has been forged by former Bowmore manager and master distiller Jim Ewan, who has managed to completely revitalise the brand. Jim announced his retirement this week, so it’s only right that one of his best malts is my Whisky of the Week – Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Scottish Barley.
The village of Port Charlotte lies two miles south of the distillery and was once home to Lochindall Distillery, which made whisky for exactly 100 years between 1829 and 1929. The Port Charlotte range is Bruichladdich’s peated middle child – sitting between the unpeated standard Bruichladdich and the super heavily peated Octomore. Not only are the malts in this range a tribute to the men who once worked in the now silent distillery, but the whisky itself is actually matured in the old stone warehouses.
Sitting at 40 parts peat per million (know as PPM in the industry), the Port Charlotte range successfully mixes the power of peat with the elegance which Bruichladdich is famous for. The nose has the smokiness you would expect from an Islay malt but not what you’d normally get from a Bruichladdich. There are also hints of the sea, a peppery spiciness and some sweet notes as well. These sweet flavours – vanilla, toffee, brown sugar – make themselves fully felt on the palate, along with a citrusy twist. The finish is long and smoky, but still has some light floral notes mixed in too.
Another cracker of a dram from Bruichladdich, and before Jim leaves, I hope he’s arranging to have a bottle of this delivered to him on a weekly basis.