For its Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2013, Bruichladdich distillery used a parcel of Concerto barley harvested in 2012 by seven farmers on the island. Three quarters of the spirit was matured in American whiskey barrels, the other 25% in first-fill Pessac-Léognan wine casks (Bordeaux, could be red or white), married together before bottling. The whisky is 8 years old.
Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2013 (50%, OB 2021)
Nose: quite nutty at first, with a big hit of hazelnut husks. Then hints of gorse and orange peel, as well as some warm bready notes. Meadow flowers, with hints of honey and peach in the background. Subtle smoked herbs and earthy, but overall this is quite a gentle whisky so far.
Mouth: sweet smoke, mixing with coconut and brown sugar, hints of almonds and vanilla. More hazelnuts, as well as some nougat. Faint lemony notes in the back. Crushed black peppercorns. Hints of Cecina de León (beef ham). Drying herbal notes and a faint coastal note as well.
Finish: long, returning to these hazelnuts, with hints of coffee beans, black pepper and smoky embers.
This is how I like my French wine casks: unnoticed… Islay barley seems to result in a complex whisky with a fairly moderate peaty footprint. A really nice one, this is much better than the Islay Barley I could try a few years ago. Available from Master of Malt or slightly cheaper from The Whisky Exchange for instance.