Whisky Review: SMWS 127.44 Port Charlotte “Cantina Mexicana”

Style: Sweet, Smoky and Spicy


Wow, very powerful stuff, ample caramel drizzle generously on barbeque ham, aroma cruising on a ferocious spice. A signature blend of red wine, minerals, seaweed, iodine and heavily smoked barley. Nutmeg and ginger powder sprinkling down on dark cacao. Finish with some toffee apple.


Red currants dusted with cinnamon, pomegranate, all sorts of grapes thoroughly smoked. Black peppercorn coming upfront, spice firing at all cylinders… It’s a 65.9% afterall. Chocolate malt, hay stack, a hidden brush of floral fragrance, dry barley, peated chorizos and sardines at the tail. Soft oak and resin at lower levels, peppermint, vanilla ice cream rounding up nicely at the back. Very hot, but very tasty.


More barley, raisins and Cadbury. Peat smoke crackling gently, black liquorice and dark fruits to finish.


I have been meaning to write about this for quite a while but full-strength Port Charlotte is not easy to review. Mostly because, by the time I get to the Thoughts session, usually I am already half-tipsy/drunk. Now, this Port Charlotte is no exception I afraid, a scary 65.9%, definitely not for the faint hearted… Somehow for me, cask strength Port Charlotte generally feels “stronger” than Octomore regardless of the strength or ppm, as if there is a relentless force pushing the expression forward. The funny thing about this is, even under such a crazy strength, it works, especially with sherry casks – fascinating layering, texture, sweetness, and complexity are completely in sync with the robust spirit. Are we looking at Port Charlotte at its peak? Maybe, but it sure is dangerously addictive.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[65.9% | Independent Bottling | 2003 Distilled | 2016 Bottled | Aged 12 years | Cask Strength | Non Coloured | Non Chill Filtered | 588 Bottles | Single Cask | Mature in second-fill OIoroso Butt | **-]