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Port Charlotte ‘Islay Barley’ (2016, OB, 50%)

What are we talking about when we say Bruichladdich? Simply we name one of the most innovative distillery in the contemporary Scotch whisky panorama. Port Charlotte is a peated whisky made at Bruichladdich and today we pick up “Islay Barley” from the core range: as the distillery web site proudly reports, this whisky comes from barley “harvested in September 2008 from the farms at Coull, Kynagarry, Island, Rockside, Starchmill & Sunderland, peated to 40 PPM, then distilled in December of the same year, this is a whisky of flawless provenance. A true Ileach”. Just before our two cents on the Islay Barley, we would like to remind you a thrilling tasting that will take place on 11 July in Milan, thanks to Branca, the italian importer of the distillery. We will be there, don’t miss it! 

N: alcohol perception is very low, wow! We feel a lot of warm cereal, salty sea air (there’s sea flowing in this bottle), roasted chestnuts. After a while, the sweet side of the dram appears to define itlself better, especially going towards fruity notes: bergamot, ripe yellow fruit, maybe something tropical like kiwi gold. Plain vanilla, of course. Mixing pungent peat and fruity nuances gives us a suggestion of talcum powder.  

P: explosive and full bodied, really lush. There is a charming fusion between marine elements (salty water, port ropes) and balsamic notes (talcum again). A creamy-vanilla sweetness explodes just in the middle of the mouth, with a clear citrusy backgroung (lemon cream?), along with corn flakes and pepper.   

F: smokyness remains long in the aftertaste, with some kind of inorganic peat (tires, polluted port).  

We really enjoyed this Islay Barley, that is elegant and refined despite the descriptors we used. A dram that stands like a confirmation of Jim McEwan’s great work at Bruichilladich. It’s just a shame that, in a sense, others are reaping the harvest of that approach, but this is part of the magical mystery that is the whisky industry. Before we leave, we willingly point out the good value for money (about 70/80 euro) for this dram. Compliments to Bruichladdich: 87/100 and see you next week! 

Recommended soundtrack: Islay – Bruichladdich.

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