Friday, June 30, 2017

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Heavily Peated Islay Single Malt Scotch

- $60
- 100 Proof
- Region: Islay, Scotland

It's been a while since I've posted. It's not due to a lack of drinking whisky, however. I recently moved, so for a while there my whiskey and my laptop were packed away. During that time, however, I've enjoyed a few bottles, down to the last couple pours, with the intention of finishing them once I got into my new house, and getting the reviews up here. This is the first I finished off once we settled in, and this picture was actually taken in my new basement bar!

This was a sort of going away gift from my whiskey buddy who recently moved away. I'm not sure if it was intended as a gift or if it was just a matter of he couldn't pack it so he gave it to me. Either way, the outcome is the same and I got to enjoy a nice, peaty bottle of Islay Scotch!

The bottle itself advertises this as a "Heavily Peated" Scotch, and with a simple pop of the cork it's obvious that that is not mere puffery! One whiff of this stuff and my first thought was, "Holy smoke bomb!" It's like I stuck my nose into the smoldering remains of a campfire. It was really tough to get past the smoke to find other notes, but with a little patience and persistence, I was also able to pick up some graham cracker and light honey. The sweetness is there, it's just hidden.

The smoke, however, actually seemed stronger on the nose than it did on the palate.  Don't get me wrong, this is still a very smoky whisky, but the other flavors are able to permeate through as well, and it is a decent blend of smoky and sweet.

Beyond the peat there is a smooth butterscotch flavor that mixes well with cereal notes (perhaps that graham cracker I noticed on the nose) as well as hints of dark fruits. It reminded me of raisin bran, oddly enough. It's tasty and complex, though it does come off as a bit rough around the edges.

The peat smoke is still difficult to get past, and that smokiness lingers in your mouth forever, kind of like that taste you have the morning after enjoying a nice cigar the night before. It left an odd, almost metallic taste at the back of my throat as well that I had a hard time getting past. Also, frequently after a bottle has been open for a bit, the whisky inside tends to smooth out a bit. Not so with this one, as the rough edges seemed to only get more prominent, focusing more on the peat and the alcohol than the other, tasty but hidden flavors.

Even after a few pours, I couldn't be certain whether I liked this or not. I liked it at first, enjoying the butterscotch and graham cracker flavors mixed with the smoke, like a nice Summer campfire. Then a couple pours later I would wonder what I ever saw in this stuff. Yet, on my last pour, there I was, enjoying it all over again. Perhaps it was simply my mood, or perhaps just whatever I had just eaten was changing my palate, but I could never really put my thumb on whether or not I liked it.

Grade: B-

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