Whisky Review: SMWS 127.44 Port Charlotte “Cantina Mexicana”

Style: Sweet, Smoky and Spicy

Nose:

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.

Palate:

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.

Finish:

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

Thoughts:

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 | **-]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01

Style: Sweet, Barbeque smoke and Spicy

Nose:
Sticky Riesling injected with a dose of barbeque smoke and iodine. A string of sweet white grapes, powerful chilli spice peeling off a layer of earthiness. Spearmint overtone, sugared green mangoes, dried apricots and meat stock shining at the core. Sweet and feisty.

Palate:
Sweet, smoky apricots served on the palate. Crystallized pears and sugar plums creating a round, satisfying sweetness, which circles around some smoked mackerel notes. Vanilla sugar, dry hay stacks building on top of iodine brushes, a seaside farm-y vibe I am getting here… Wine texture, a hint of olives and barbeque pork with a pinch of sea salt. Roasted coffee beans chocolate at the back. Finishes with subtle liquorice roots.

Finish:
Stewed tropical fruits with tarry smoke gently lacing around it. Clean, sweet white grapes continue to linger. Quite nice.

Thoughts:
Oddly, I see glimpses of Port Ellen in this dram. Of course they are not the same thing, also, young Port Ellen are usually much tighter than Port Charlotte. But there are a few overlapping moments which reminds me of a good PE in this PC – maybe it is the near-perfect distribution between fruitiness, meatiness, maritime notes and peat smoke, they gather, synergize and paint a colourful picture in front of you… Not saying this is the best whisky, but drams like this make me feel Port Charlotte is so underrated.

☆ [Recommended]

[57.8% • 2015 Bottled • 2007 Distilled • Original Bottling • Limited Release • Travel Retail Exclusive • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • No Age Statement • Aged 8 Years • *]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Port Charlotte 10 Aged Years

Style: Herbal, Citrus fruits and Ashy

Nose:
Starts with a pleasing blend of citrus drops, barbecue smoke, maritime notes and earthy peat. Vanilla milk emerges, a touch of herbal overtone, which then morphed into some generous seaweed signatures. Smoked ham, more citrus lollies and some apricots perhaps hiding up at the attic. Optimal chilli and peppermint spices with a few mineral flicks.

Palate:
Smoky orange pop drives in with a medicinal white spirit current on the palate to form some sweet lozenges at the front. Hay stack, flinty notes, coconut shreds and vanilla milk unveiling as medicinal tone starts to wane. Sweetness levitates and takes a more delicate form – Glazed pears, star fruits and even a hint of white jasmine. Another dose of smoked tea, bitter herbs lingers till the end.

Finish:
Mint lemon squash fuses with tobacco ashes, which is then drying up with a liquorice and herbal tail.

Thoughts:
A rather herbal dram we have here, couldn’t help but wondering if the house style is taking a slight grassy/herbal turn? From memory the previous version is banging more on maritime smoke and farm-y notes. Anyway, I have high expectations on this one because the last one I tried was very impressive. So this Port Charlotte manages to find a nice balance point of all the elements involved – the distillate, sweetness, peat smoke, finesse, etc. are all nicely calibrated and fired at a comfortable pace. Not sure if this is as good as the previous batch, but I am a happy man here.

☆ [Recommended]

[50% • Original Bottling • General Release • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • 2018 Bottled • *-]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Ralfy.com Meteorite Port Charlotte Aged 12 Years

[56.2%・12 Years Old・Ralfy.com Bottling・Cask No. 0941・Single Cask Release of 233 Bottles]

Nose:

From the get go there is this mouth-salivating smoked thick cut bacon note that is just fantastic.  It’s quite salty, squid ink linguine and a meatiness that is propped up by the Sherry. In the meantime a touch of maple syrup elevates the malty component.  The dirty smoke continues to grow and in time the raisins arrive to hug things in.

Palate & Finish:

Excellent mouthfeel, optimal thickness.  Bonito flakes with a hint of old soy sauce, maple syrup cured bacon with a generous dose of raisins as the peat sinks in.  Blackcurrants and blackberries follow on to run parallel with the peat, and the follow through is casually complimented by a fine layer of caramel..

The confectionery note and the peat continue to swirl together.  More dark chocolate and some dried raisins arriving but still retaining that smoothness..

Thoughts:

What a cracking dram, stylistically fascinating and perhaps even boundaries pushing with how well the saltiness is conveyed, this is bloody fantastic..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: The Whiskyfind Port Charlotte Aged 13 Years

[56.9%・13 Years Old・Distilled in 2004・Bottled in 2017・The Whiskyfind Bottling・Cask No. 1049・Single Cask Release of 302 Bottles]

Nose:

The milky, seaweed-y note are quite upfront and generous, iodine and Chinese mushrooms leading to smoke and some peppery notes. A touch of almond butter oozes out in time as the smoke brings about a creamy, malty quality with some lavender in the mix.

Palate & Finish:

The buttery caramel sweetness on the palate comes with quite a bit of bite, some initial peppery spice alongside the peat that is present from the get go. The peat only grows stronger as the palate develops, dried fruits surfacing along with a herbal chewiness, joined later on by some blackberries.

The buttery caramel sauce integrates with the peat in the finish to smooth out all the rough edges in the finish, traces of burnt Portuguese tarts..

Thoughts:

A decent wine cask matured Port Charlotte with an appealing profile that is perhaps not too technical but at the same time it is not at all too powerful or overwhelming. Peat and wine casks can be a shaky combo but this is a pleasant surprise.

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Rest & Be Thankful Port Charlotte Aged 13 Years

[63.5%・13 Years Old・Distilled in 2002・Bottled in 2016・Rest & Be Thankful Bottling・Cask No. 0007・Single Cask Release of 292 Bottles]

Nose:

There is a thrilling dose of burnt rubber tires alongside seaweed and coal smoke.  Rustic and dirty but is nicely complimented by a syrupy sweetness.

Palate & Finish:

Uncompromising and voluminous texture with its oiliness, the palate is chewy with the peat particles generously revealing themselves, good syrupy nature as the smoke and pepper latch on.

The delivery transitions well into the finish, hints of citrus now becoming more noticeable.

Thoughts:

A young, but proper Port Charlotte, straight to the point and nicely executed..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas