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Port Charlotte

Port Charlotte MRC:01 2010 Single Malt Scotch Whisky - 70cl, 59.2% Vol.

€123.44 $136.71 £103.99

Peat

Smoke, barbecue, medicine, farmyard aromas

By far the most polarising of all whisky flavours - and in some ways, that most distinctive of Scotch whisky. Peat is a type of fossil fuel, halfway between soil and coal, which produces a very aromatic smoke as it burns, and is widespread in the Scottish Highlands and islands. It has long been used to dry out malted barley in preparation for making whisky…and the aroma of the smoke lingers throughout the whole distillation process and the subsequent years of maturation.

The resulting flavour is often described as “medicinal” - associated with disinfectants such as TCP, especially by its detractors. Those who enjoy the flavour may be more likely to compare it to the scent of a barbecue, or a welcoming fireplace on a cold winter night.

Peat is almost universally associated with the Islay region - although some Islay whiskies have no peat, while many non-Islay whiskies do. As the flavour derives from the malted barley rather than the cask, it is generally more upfront in younger whiskies than in older expressions, where the cask has had more time to influence the overall style - this is why most Islay whiskies, renowned for their peaty flavours, are bottled at 10 or 12 years with relatively little spirit kept for older ages (Lagavulin is a notable exception). The most notorious of peaty whiskies is probably Laphroaig, while the crown of the “world’s peatiest whisky” is held by Bruichladdich’s Octomore series. At the other end of the scale, those flavours produced by relatively light peating levels are described by the earth flavour tag.

Because of the distinctiveness and the sheer intensity of peaty flavours, they can be difficult to pair with cigars: generally, the fuller-flavoured the cigar, the more likely it is to complement an intensely peaty whisky. In this sense, Bolivar, Partagas and certain Cohibas are safe choices. You may like to experiment a little more and try other cigars that are marked by flavours of leather, pepper or toast, however.

Salt

Brine, seaweed, cured meats, oil, vinegar

Any distillery tour guide will tell you of the importance of the environment for maturing whisky. After all, it takes only a couple of days to distill the spirit, but it will be slumbering in a warehouse for a minimum of three years, and often more like ten or twenty. The local environment is often described as a key factor in the particular flavour profile of any given distillery’s produce. For many, this may have more to do with romanticism than fact: but for those distilleries situated by the coast, it has a very real effect. When the waves of the tide lap against the warehouse walls, as they do at many distilleries from Islay to Orkney, the spirit inside can hardly help but absorb some of that sea air.

This explains the distinctively salty flavour present in many coastal drams. For some, such as Tobermory or Old Pulteney, the salinity forms one of the most immediately recognisable characteristics. For many of the peaty Islay whiskies, it mixes with the smoke to produce a very distinctive seaweed flavour, or notes of smoked ham and cured meat. In each case, it is unmistakeable, and absolutely unique - there is no comparable flavour in the world of wine, beer, cognac, bourbon or any other drink.

Although salty flavours are mostly associated with island whiskies (including but not limited to Islay), they may be found in many mainland distilleries located on the coast. The aforementioned Old Pulteney is one, as is neighbour Clynelish and perhaps Glenglassaugh; the Campbeltown region is also marked by a strong salinity. Some island drams are as notably lacking in salty flavours (e.g. Highland Park) as others are marked by it (Tobermory, Talisker).

The unusual savoury quality of such flavours make them a good counterpart to some of the more spicy or peppery cigars - Por Larrañaga or El Rey del Mundo might be good examples, while Cohiba and Partagas complement the bolder Islay styles very well.

 

Honey

Treacle, toffee, caramel, heather

The sweetness of honey is one of the most common flavours in Scotch whisky…particularly in younger examples of the popular Speyside style that forms the basis of many of the most popular blends, but also in the Highlands and, perhaps most characteristically, the Lowlands. The Island whiskies, too, often express a honey-like sweetness in their lighter forms. This is usually the result of the natural sugars present in malted barley, and so is generally more apparent in younger whiskies (up to 15-18 years of age) before too much of heftier flavours like wood, spice or dried fruit are imparted from the cask.

A richer, toffee-like sweetness often derives from European oak casks (generally ex-sherry), while American oak (ex-bourbon or newer sherry casks) produces a lighter, vanilla-tinged flavour that complements the natural sugars of the barley. The marshmallow-like sweetness of bourbon often translates into a lighter honey-like flavour in Scotch matured in ex-bourbon casks.

Good examples of single malts that carry strong flavours of honey are the classic Glenlivet and its many Speyside brethren; the lightness and softness of Lowlanders Glenkinchie and Auchentoshan; and the heathery sweetness of younger Highland Parks or some Highlanders like Dalwhinnie or Glen Garioch. In addition, virtually all of the biggest names in blended whisky are marked by this kind of flavour - the house styles of Johnnie Walker, J&B and Chivas Regal all depend on that sweet, youthful Speyside core. All of them are likely to go well with lighter cigars, particularly those with sweet flavours of their own, such as Hoyo de Monterrey.

 

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Port Charlotte MRC:01 2010 Single Malt Scotch Whisky - 70cl, 59.2% Vol.

Heavily peated Bruichladdich single Islay malt

With over 200...read more

Tasting Notes

Nose – Initially you are met with a summer fruit and peat smoke extravaganza! Raspberry and cherry, with Turkish delight and smoky driftwood embers burst from the glass jostling for attention. There is a distinctly summer feel to this dram, no brooding peat monster it has a light, bright and fruity air. As the whisky opens you find the Islay sea breeze, ozone and salty. The oak, both American and French give real depth to the dram, classic vanilla, toasted bread, chocolate, roasted coffee beans, liquorice walnut and almond. Each time you go back to the glass there seems to be a bubble of red berry and ripe plum bursting under your nose.

Palate – Certainly warming at 59.2%, lively and sweet with icing sugar and marshmallow, bound in smoke. There is a rush to capture all that is taking place. Sweet red fruit and peat smoke melt away slightly as the power of the oak comes through with tobacco leaf and toasted oak. Maple syrup, pecan and coffee are complimented by hints of orange and cooked peach. There is a complexity here that didn’t seem possible on the first sip. As you go back to the glass that initial rush of flavour has become a more complete experience. Nowthere is salt spray, dry smoke and the oak is more prominent, raspberry and plum combine with vanilla and butterscotch.

Finish – On the finish the peat smoke is a little more medicinal than normal, think bandages and creosote. A dryness from the oak tells of the toasting of the French and the char of the American and the final combination in premium French oak together. The influence of the extra maturation in sumptuous first growth casks has added a layer of fruit that weaves its way through the smoke and into the heart of the whisky. The spirit is viscous and textured allowing a long finish where creamy vanilla, spicy clove and ripe peach melt away from the powerful peat smoke allowing it to finish alone, leaving the Port Charlotte DNA firmly in place.

Character – Lively, sunny, rosy, a wonderful experience and superb combination of fruit laden French oak, strong peat smoke and Islay maturation.

Product Info

Port Charlotte MRC:01 2010 Single Malt Scotch Whisky - 70cl, 59.2% Vol.

Heavily peated Bruichladdich single Islay malt

With over 200 different cask types maturing in our warehouses, our cask exploration series showcases the influence of wood on our heavily peated spirit. Bottled at 59.2% alcohol and in limited numbers, we introduce the Port Charlotte MRC:01 2010. Distilled from 100% Scottish barley, from the Invernesshire region, this sweet and fruity spirit has spent time in first fill American whiskey casks and second fill French wine casks. These component parts have been combined and matured for an extra year in the finest French oak from the Bordeaux left bank.

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Delivery Information

Robert Graham uses reputable courier services and we ship worldwide. Within the UK we aim to deliver within 2 working days. International delivery times vary depending on destination. After your purchase has been processed, you will receive an email notification with your delivery tracking number.

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Note: Regrettably we cannot ship cigars or any other tobacco products to the USA and Canada.

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