Saturday, December 30, 2017

Tasting: Bartels Whisky - Highland Laird - Port Charlotte 2004

Bartels Whisky - Highland Laird - Port Charlotte 2004
Single Malt Scotch Whisky – From A Single Cask

Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottler: Bartels Whisky
Region: Island
Age: 12 Years Old
Proof/ABV: 57,3%
Distilled: 2004
Bottled: 2017
Dk price: $160USD/999Dkk.  
Cask: Bourbon
Release: Limited 225 bottles release.

Points: 90/100

Back in 2006 when Bruichladdich released their new heavily peated single malt whisky, named Port Charlotte, it caused quite the confusion. Some believed that the defunct Port Charlotte distillery (previously known as the Lochindaal Distillery) had started to produce whisky again, but the only real connection between Bruichladdich' new Port Charlotte brand and the old distillery is that Bruichladdich owns Port Charlotte’s warehouses, where they are storing their Port Charlotte malt. Bruichladdich had plans to build a second distillery with the same name, but those plans where abandoned later.     

Bruichladdich old master distiller Jim McEwan was the man behind the Port Charlotte brand until his retirement from Bruichladdich back in 2015.
The first release of Port Charlotte was named after its age PC5, distilled back in 2001. Subsequent releases have followed this pattern, with PC6 being released in 2007, PC7 in 2008 etc. PC12 marked the last age stated release in the PC series, and was replaced by two new NAS offerings; Scottish Barley and Islay Barley.

This bottling from the UK based Independent Bottler; Bartels whisky was distilled somewhere between the first and second Port Charlotte release and since all the PC releases were bottled with a peat level at 40PPM, it’s fair to assume that this bottling is peated to the same level.

Port Charlotte has always been right up in my alley, when it comes down to peated whiskies, and are one of my absolute favorites Bruichladdich offerings, next to the Octomore brand, so I’m really looking forward to tasting this one.
Not as peaty as I expected it to be. Actually, it’s a kitten in comparison to e.g. The Scottish Barley edition. It’s very earthly, a bit damp and oily with notes of hay, salt and white pepper.
The peat smoke is defiantly breaking through now. Tar, ash, lemon, coal and oak are dancing around on the palate.

Long and peaty with a fistful of black pepper.

Overall Impression:
One of the most interesting Port Charlotte’s that I have ever tasted, and that really says a lot! I find the peat to be better integrated, in comparison to most of the official PC bottles that I have had the pleasure of tasting. It never overpowers the tasting profile but runs through the entire tasting experience as an underlying wave of delicious peat smoke.

Review By: Hasse Berg
Photo by: (All rights reserved)

This sample was graciously sent to me by for the purposes of this review.

Son of Winston Churchill has kindly been granted permission to use the photo in this review.