Start with malt sourced 100% from Islay, peat it, have Bruichladdich distill it, age in ex-Bourbon and ex-Wine casks for 6 years on Islay and you get this: Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2012. A celebration of Islay, it’s the kind of whisky you want to get lost in because it’s just… good.
We’ll get into all of the gory review details below, but I want to take a minute up here to give a word of appreciation for what Bruichladdich is doing. The way they try their best to keep as much of the process and the resources of their whisky on the island that birthed them. That’s no easy feat and should be commended.
Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2012 – Details and Tasting Notes
Region: Islay, Scotland
Mash Bill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: First Fill ex-Bourbon (75%), Second Fill ex-Wine (25%)
Age: 6 Years
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Pear-heavy orchard fruit, honey, smoke, graham, vanilla and fruit taffy with touches of floral, cocoa and herbal notes.
Peat smoke, herbal, dry maltiness, saline, pear-heavy orchard fruit, honey, smoke, graham, vanilla and touches of floral soap and cocoa.
Long -> Fruit, malt, nuts and saline.
BALANCE, BODY and FEEL
Good balance, medium body, light oily feel.
Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2012 – Overall
Aroma is an intense burst of sweetness that hugs the peaty smoky earthy notes that develops into a “smoked custard” profile as it opens; Palate is warm and fruity as well with an even heavier smoke and saline character; Finish is a muted version of the palate that slowly fades.
This is some tasty whisky and I think any other peat lover would enjoy it too.
Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2012 – Final Thoughts and Score
Yes there’s peat, yes there’s coastal sharpness, but it’s all wrapped in a nice fruity, slightly desserty, sweetness. The peat isn’t that sharp plasticy band-aidy style of Laphroaig or Ardbeg (which It love). It’s more of a dry, slightly sweet and ashy BBQ style smoke that creeps in, builds and slowly fades out… kinda like the highland peat style of Ardmore in a way.
This is not a totally deep or complex whisky. And not everything needs to be. Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2012 is a nice, simple, easy sipping, Islay that has an appeal to the casual smoky drinker and the peat head alike. It’s just good.
*Disclosure: The bottle for this Scotch review was graciously sent to me by the company without obligation. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2012 Review
Peaty, fruity, lovely whisky. If that’s what you want, then you want this. It’s a lovely sip no matter what time of year it is.