Bruichladdich 10-year-old Port Charlotte in South Africa
The Bruichladdich team have deep-rooted values and an ambition to make the ultimate Islay whisky. A whisky made by people, not software; a whisky that is watched by its makers throughout each day of its maturing life; a whisky born of a community, a vision and a burning desire to kick start a single malt whisky revolution. This Port Charlotte 10-year-old is who they are. This is where they’re from.
Bruichladdich’s 10-year-old Port Charlotte has been conceived, distilled, matured and bottled on the Scottish island of Islay.
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte
The first distillation of Port Charlotte single malt was in May 2001 and the flavour profile was quite different from the typical Islay style. With a softer, barbecue, campfire quality it has retained all of the elegance and finesse of the Bruichladdich house style, without any signs of the typical medicinal note usually associated with Islay whiskies.
To differentiate the spirit from the unpeated Bruichladdich it was named after the village of Port Charlotte, which lies two miles to the south of the Bruichladdich Distillery.
Ageing for 10 years on the shores of Lochindaal has had a profound effect on this spirit. Like sunshine on a winter’s day, this Port Charlotte 10 brings clarity and lightens the mood, welcoming and brightening the future.
On the Nose
The smoke is calmed by the marine, ozone character. Time has brought a balance and harmony, in the combination of oak, smoke and spirit. While the smoke is always discernible on the nose, it’s dry, earthy, peat-ash style allows the oak to come forward with waves of golden caramel, fudge, vanilla custard and hints of ginger, nutmeg and clove.
There is citrus fruit, coaxed from the glass with a drop of water, gentle lemon meringue and clementine. Breathe deeply and the floral aromas of wild thyme, heather and sea pink bring you to the Atlantic coast.
On the Palate
On the palate, there is a noticeable delicacy and softness in texture and style. Again, the balance of flavour is superb as the smoke wraps loosely around the sweetness that’s drawn from deep within the oak. Coconut, vanilla custard and lemon honey combines with smoked oysters and sun baked salty sand.
The finish is sublime, smoky, but also the soft sweetness of fudge and malted barley, orange, mango and banoffee pie, hinting of the depth and quality of the oak. The many layers interchange on each sip.
As the smoke comes and goes, so too do the notes of the spirit-ripe apple and apricot, beautifully intertwined with malt and oak sweetness and the typical Port Charlotte style dry smoke.
A South African Connection
Ailsa and Graham Hayes are South African expats who live on the Scottish island of Islay, the home of Bruichladdich. They work at the distillery and are part of the passionate team who pour their hearts and souls into the production of their beloved Bruichladdich single malts.
In anticipation of the launch of Port Charlotte 10 in South Africa, Bruichladdich gave some of the country’s finest bartenders the opportunity to chat to two very special individuals at the distillery.
Q&A Graham Hayes, Stillman at Bruichladdich Distillery
Brent Perremore (part-owner and bartender at The Art of Duplicity speakeasy bar in Cape Town) sent over a couple of questions for Graham Hayes.
Where in South Africa are you from? I am from the Eastern Cape.
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Bluewater Bay and Kenton on Sea.
What made you want to immigrate to Scotland?
My grandfather was Scottish and I wanted to see a game of rugby at Murrayfield Stadium. While there, I met my Scottish wife, Ailsa – who also now works at the Bruichladdich Distillery, so I thought, “What the hell, why not stay?”.
What are some of your favourite fruits?
I love pineapples, my other favourites are avocados and oranges, which I miss being able to pick on the farm back home in South Africa.
What are some of your favourite botanicals?
I love wild thyme, bog myrtle and apple mint which are all found on Islay where the Bruichladdich distillery is based.
What other whisky styles do you like?
I like unpeated Bere Barley and Islay Barley.
What drives your interest in whisky?
The amazing flavours you can get from a natural product and the camaraderie you get with a good bottle.
What is your heritage?
I am a typical South African! A combination of Scottish, Irish, English and Dutch.
Eastern Promises Cocktail
25 ml Port Charlotte 10-Year-Old
25 ml Cape white rum
50 ml Spiced pineapple Chardonnay Vermouth
Stir all ingredients together. Garnish with lemon zest.
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