There’s a special place in my heart for Bruichladdich, and always will be. My first taste of the dear departed Laddie 10, my first taste of the volcanic Octomore, an epic night with J.T. sampling oddities and rarities like the Bruichladdich Yellow Submarine, sipping the Black Art on a hotel balcony overlooking Italy’s Lake Garda with Thane out better halves…this endlessly innovative Islay distillery has been bringing me some of my most memorable whisky moment for years.
Every chance to try a new ‘Laddie is a pleasure. This 2008 Port Charlotte Islay Barley was no exception.
Bruichladdich takes barley provenance seriously. Their tagline is “terroir matters”–terroir being the expression of aspects of a specific place in the qualities of a wine or spirit.
The core of the 2008 Port Charlotte for me is an underlying creaminess that recalls the Islay barley Octomores, like the magnificent Octomore 6.3. It starts on the nose. Sour cream pound cake. A little candied lemon. Wild strawberry. A little fuzzy peat at the fringes, but very mild. Bruichladdich calls this “Heavily Peated,” but at 40ppm, it’s below Ardbeg’s usual 55ppm, and WAY below the Octomores’ 150-250ppm+.
The palate starts with some sweet peat, but it’s still restrained. Marzipan. Medium-light body, but reasonably substantial for its age (6 years). Strawberry shortcake. With a few drops of water, the peat comes alive, prickles. Campfire and graham crackers, balanced by flickers of citrus. The finish is pleasant but on the shorter side. Leaves you wanting more, and pouring more.
A very approachable young Islay, creamy and bright at once, with excellent balance. Bottled at a healthy 50% ABV and sold at a very fair $60. I’d recommend it to anyone.
Cheers, friends! – BO
A company representative graciously provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.