Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2012 Review

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.

Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2012 Review

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


Whiskey Details

Region: Islay, Scotland

Distiller: Bruichladdich
Mash Bill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: First Fill ex-Bourbon (75%), Second Fill ex-Wine (25%)
Age: 6 Years
ABV: 50%

Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

PPM: 40

Price: $65*

White background tasting shot with the Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2012 bottle and a glass of whiskey next to it.
“This high provenance, heavily-peated single malt was distilled from Islay-grown barley in 2012. A total of eight Islay farms came together to harvest the 2011 crop for Port Charlotte over a tempestuous summer. Each farmer had worked with us before, in Hunter Jackson, Ian Torrance, Ian MacKerrel, Raymond Fletcher, Mark French, Alistair Torrance, Raymond Stewart with father and son team Donald and Andrew Jones. Our community’s commitment to Islay is embodied here, where local barley is raised, distilled, matured and bottled only on Islay.” – Bruichladdich

Tasting Notes


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.

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.

SCORE: 3.5/5

*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.

Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2012 Back Label

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.


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