Port Charlotte 21 Year Old tasting by Neil Ridley
By Neil Ridley, Drinks Writer and Presenter on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch (@worldsbestspirits)
Colour: Pale gold
Nose: A waft of aromatic woodsmoke, some herbal notes, a little menthol and medicinal peat arrive first, with a touch of cocoa-heavy chocolate and stewed, spiced apple. Very upfront and savoury, with a nicely balanced sweetness.
Palate: An oily and viscous mouthfeel, with the spiced apple strudel, a waft of lemon zest, some cracked black pepper and more of the herbal, aromatic smoke. The peat is very well balanced and zingy. With the addition of water, the influence of the rum cask begins to come alive, with some barbecued sweet potato and banana, a well-rounded sweetness and a distinct molasses-led depth, coating the palate.
Finish: Long lasting and smoky, with a slight charred oak note and herbal savouriness.
Overall comment: Very distinct and complex, this showcases the uniqueness of Islay’s Port Charlotte distillery, but also gives it a Caribbean-led vibrancy too. A cracker of a cask.