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Sunday, 27 April 2008

Charlotte, the Peated Harlot!!

End of the month blues strike us at Caskstrength Towers- so many great whiskies out there and so little ££'s/time to purchase and consume them!!
Having made the (clearly impossible) pact that we'd limit our purchases this month, Joel and I find ourselves heading down New Oxford Street with a whisper in our ears of something young, exclusive, peaty & sweet over at Royal Mile Whiskies.

Bruichladdich are fast becoming one of my newly discovered gems over the past year or so- having always favoured bottlings by the Southern coastal distilleries of Ardbeg, Lagavulin and- from the peated mists of time, the majestic Port Ellen.

So when we heard of Royal Mile's intention to release a limited single cask bottling of Port Charlotte, we were immediately excited!!

One can imagine that hearts were beating fast and pulses racing when the very first Port Charlotte was distilled in May 2001 over at Bruichladdich... it clearly did not disappoint.

The PC5 'Evolution', although only matured for 5 years showed enormous character and an intensely peaty edge, which closely followed the traditions of the original Port Charlotte distillery in its approach to the drying of the malt.

The great news to previous Port Charlotte lovers is that this single cask bottling, specially selected by acclaimed whisky writer, Ian Buxton continues in the fabulous tradition of the PC5, 6 and the 3D Moines Mhor.

Port Charlotte Ian Buxton Single Cask bottling - Cask no: 299 Refill Bourbon - Distilled 2002, Bottled 5th November 2007 - 432 50cl bottles - ABV: 46%

Nose- Take a deep breath... and dive into the chilly coastal waters off Port Ellen. Masses of brine, sea spray and hints of delicate smoke, give way to something wholly sweeter and fruity -touches of spice and dry cedar on the death.
Palate- The salty peat hits first, washed over then by a refreshing sweetness, with perhaps something slightly drying to the mouth, like grapefruit - very clean, which is not surprising since this is only a 5 year old whisky. A delicate class prevails, though...

Finish- More smoke and sea spray leading to further hints of that cigar-box cedarwood and spice. I didn't add any water at all (considering it is bottled at only 46% abv) and again the class shows through. Not as thin and quick a finish as you'd perhaps expect- faint traces of smoke linger and you're on to your 2nd dram!

Overall- For £29.99, this whisky is really a steal. We've recently been introduced to some remarkably cheap single cask bottlings of excellent quality and this continues in that fashion. Even though you're getting slightly less bang-for-buck with its strange 50cl 'Olive Oil shaped' bottle, it's worth picking this up and drinking alongside some of your other smoky delights. Although an older whisky may have more depth and complexity, this really does belie its tender age and will clearly will hold its own against the likes of an older Ardbeg or Laphroaig.