Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2012

Maker: Bruichladdich, Islay, Argyll, Scotland, UK (Rémy Cointreau)

Region: Islay

Style: Peated Single Malt

Age: 6 y/o

ABV: 50%

Note: Made with barley grown on Islay.

Michigan state minimum: $65

Appearance: Pale straw.

Nose: Hardwood ash, peat, dark chocolate, toasted oak, vanilla.

Palate: Full bodied. Smoky dark chocolate, burn.

Finish: Cigarettes, chocolate pudding.

Parting words: Port Charlotte is Bruichladdich’s heavily peated range of single malts, not to be confused with their Octomore range of super-heavily peated malt. This is the first Port Charlotte I’ve purchased and I enjoyed it more than I expected.

I like young, fiery, Islay malts, but I was skeptical that 6 y/o was going to be too young. It’s not. Port Charlotte 2012 is wise beyond its years. It somehow tasted more mature than some bottles of Laphroaig 10 I’ve purchased. There’s a lot of chocolate and smoke and it pairs very well with the former.

I’d have to do some kind of side-by-side tasting to determine if using local barley makes a difference in the finished product, and I’m generally skeptical of the impact of terroir, especially in spirits. Whether it makes a difference in the glass or not, it’s a very cool thing to use local grain for a product like this. More distilleries should do this.

$65 is a good price for a quality, vintage dated, high ABV single malt like this. Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2012 is recommended.