Port Charlotte Islay Barley
We believe in barley, in its origins and its provenance. To us, barley is the essence of single malt whisky, a living expression of the land that nurtured it. Many other distillers source it from global markets at the best price – a mere commodity. In 2004, backing our drive for the ultimate Islay” Islay single malt, farmer Raymond Stewart grew barley for us at Kentraw, just a mile from the distillery. His harvest was then malted and distilled separately – we believe the first time ever an Islay single malt had been made exclusively from 100% Islay grown grain. Today, the heavily peated malt for this new dram has been created from harvests brought home from three Islay farms, by Raymond and his farming colleagues Neil McLellan and Raymond Fletcher. The resulting rich, aromatic Port Charlotte wash was trickle distilled in our Victorian stillhouse during 2011. Moving forward we now have 19 farmers who have made the commitment to grow for us and to whom we are equally committed. This Islay Barley is who we are. This is where we’re from.
Nose – A whirlwind of vibrant aromas burst from the glass, an earthy tarred peat smoke announces this is Port Charlotte. lemon, peach and green grapes come from the spirit. Vanilla pods, creamed coconut and chocolate speak of the American oak maturation. The combinations of aromas intertwine and jostle for attention. some time to open allows notes of lemon drizzle cake, white chocolate and peach yoghurt to rise wrapped in a velvet blanket of light smoke.
Palate – Hints of salt reinforce the coastal feel. Dry smoke, salted caramel and apple sauce. Then lemon drops, boiled sweets and ground white pepper. The smoke is light on the palate, tar and charcoal rather than medicinal phenols. Towards the finish and the light gentle spirit has an edge of floral sea breeze, marine and refreshing. The sweetness of the oak and the barley are matched beautifully by the dry peat smoke. Islay grown, the barley seems more distinct and brings through the peach and apple typical of our spirit.
Finish – Tar and brine, peat smoke and salt, coconut and tobacco. Close your eyes and the smoke takes you to an Islay beach with a driftwood bonfire.
Character – The sweet/smoke combination is the defining theme on the palate. A dram for summer nights. Driftwood bonfires, the sand between your toes and some good company.