Before Jim McEwan retired he was adamant about telling the story that “Terroir Matters” when it comes to barley and both this Port Charlotte Scottish Barley its counterpart the Islay Barley resulted from those location based barley experiments. I was a little skeptical about it at the beginning, I thought the distillation process would likely strip away most of the differences, but when you compare this to the Islay Barley they are indeed quite different.
In Bruichladdich’s Words: Port Charlotte Scottish Barley
“This whisky is testament to our belief that raw ingredients matter. Trickle distilled from 100% Scottish Barley the spirit gently matures in the lochside village of Port Charlotte before being bottled here at the distillery using Islay spring water.
The texture is extraordinarily rich with a huge depth of character. The smouldering heat of peat fires pulls you into a whirlpool of islay flavours and aromas but with such finesse that you welcome the storm.”
Just how whirpooly and stormy is this whisky? Let’s find out in the Port Charlotte Scottish Barley review below.
Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Info
Region: Islay, Scotland
Mashbill: 100% Malted barley
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Review
A fairly weak aroma of apple cider, smoked sea salt, caramel, honey graham and light notes of pine-like herbal, mango, farmy malt and some frosting sweetness. There’s nothing truly off about it, but it’s crazy how light it is.
A bit denser than the aroma but still oddly light with its delivery of malt, peat, caramel, vanilla, waxy orange, overripe fruit, honey and an ethereal bit of pine meets cinnamon herbal spice and earthy notes.
Long drawl of burnt bread, peat, citrus oil, fruit and menthol.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Ok balance, medium body and an oily feel.
The aroma of the Port Charlotte Scottish Barley is muted and underwhelming and while the palate is a bit heavier and darker it’s not as well balanced as the aroma. Water does nothing to the nose, but it does give a bit of toffee and apple to the palate while simultaneously deadening the peat a bit and the earthy farmy malty funk underpinning the whole experience gets a more powerful.
Simply put, the Port Charlotte Scottish Barley is just not an impressive malt. The PC 10 and Islay Barley are FAR better and more exciting and interesting as are a lot of the indie releases I’ve had like the 2002 Port Charlotte Burns Malt we chatted about recently. It might not work on its own, but it’s easy to imagine if you blended some of this earthy Scottish barley with the fruitier barley they use in the regular releases you could end up with a complex and multi-faceted whisky; Port Charlotte Blended Barley.
SCORE: 83/100 (B)
Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 83
- Palate - 83
- Finish - 83
- Balance, Body & Feel - 83
Port Charlotte Scottish Barley is not that great.