Islay distillery Bruichladdich (‘brook-laddie’, by the way) has relaunched the very peaty Port Charlotte range with a new coat that borrows from the Octomore colour palette, with just one exception – the yellow ’10’ that marks it the first age-statement whisky from the brand.
The distillers are very proud of the fact that the product isn’t chill-filtered and free from colouring, and never would you doubt them. The slightly oily liquid goes down smooth and comes up intense, comprised mainly of fruity notes (pineapple, orange, maybe mango – the tropical stuff), vanilla and an almost brackish tail. This is decidedly more colour than what we’re used to.
As you would expect of a Bruichladdich staple, the peat is abundant. It’s a little slugger at 50% ABV and a phenol strength of 40ppm – so take your time and drop in some water if need be. If it’s a curveball to you, that’s because head distiller Adam Hannett (the same soul behind the trailblazing Black Art 5) is a fan of rolling with the punches.
“I am not master blender so I can keep the flavour consistent,” he quipped during a virtual tasting session with the local media. It was 8a.m. for him – and he had to walk us through four launches- so it was likely a remark made sober.
That ethos remains as we sample the other Port Charlotte offerings soon to come to Singapore as well: MRC:01 and Islay Barley 2011 will be available early next year. A travel retail exclusive, MC:01, will be available at Changi Airport.
Of the three, we recommend the Islay Barley 2011 for sharing and the MCR:01 if buying for oneself – the former is the most approachable of the quartet (high on the honeyed entrance and light on the palate), making it a great gateway dram for inquisitive guests.