Port Charlotte

$$$ — 50% ABV — No Age Stated

Transparency is about as rare as sans-serif fonts in the whisky world. At Bruichladdich [brook-lah-dee], you'll find both of them (Akzidenz-Grotesk for the typography nerds). While Bruichladdich's history stretches back to 1881, its revival has seen a lot of changes — by which I mean very little has changed.

Confused? Stick with me a minute.

The branding is so modernized, so very streamlined that you might expect to see robots running the stills but among the unchanged Victorian-era machinery, there's only one lonesome computer to be found at Bruichladdich. While many distillers are switching to automation and large capacity, Bruichladdich's process is slow and involved and human; even the barley is locally-sourced. And this shows in the whisky, most of which taste like a minimalist haute-cuisine dessert: flawlessly expressing only a few choice flavors.

Port Charlotte is an ongoing project in peat and maturation carried out at the nearby namesake warehouse, which was at one time a distillery. Many drinkers don't know their beloved island single malts are often not matured by the Hebrides, but shipped to the mainland in steel tanks. Smoke-heads will be excited to hear this single malt is peated to a generous 40 ppm and matured and bottled right on Lochindall, Islay's largest bay.

Port Charlotte's taste pivots from a bakery oven to a spice tent to a camp-out, roiling as it goes. It's a scotchy scotch, complex and on point but removed of anything unpleasant or unnecessary: no iodine, no dampness. If you think the austere packaging is unbecoming of a single malt, try it yourself and see how well they match.

Bruichladdich is located on Islay in the Scottish Hebrides. Established in 1881 by William, John and Robert Harvey, it is now owned by Rémy Cointreau.

Flavor Notes

Vanilla / Sugar / Butter / Peat / Barley / Campfire / Cinnamon / Nutmeg

Vanilla / Sugar / Butter / Peat / Barley / Campfire / Cinnamon / Nutmeg