Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Heavily Peated Islay Single Malt 750mL

I will say that Bruichladdich’s marketing prowess of standing out among the scotch aisle has certainly worked by proof of me purchasing it despite many choices on a New Hampshire trip. I am a fan of the peat and the Islay, and this practically shouted at me that I could find it here. However while the peat is certainly a very loud aspect of the whisky it lacks any sort of rhythm or complexity in it’s noise.

port_charlotte

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anCnoc 12 Year Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky 750mL

First I want to say this, when you name is capitalized like that – you automatically lose points on the honesty metric of our ‘objective’ scoring system. I wish that wasn’t the case, that a scotch can just be what it wants and doesn’t need to abide by your rules man – but then scotches shouldn’t be American punk bands calling us the man instead of just punching us in the face like a real scot would. You hear that scotch – I want you to hit me – as hard as you can.

ancnoc

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Talisker 18 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky 750mL

I think at this point we’re running out of Taliskers to try. So while the original 10 year has been something that we like well enough, and gives us enough uniqueness to pick it up every once in a blue moon, this is sadly a different case. We picked up the 18 year for a recent convention, and while it’s a great scotch, we wanted so much more from an 18 year old scotch, and an 18 year old Talisker.

talisker_18

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Ardmore Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky 750mL

This scotch has a bird on it…and its pretty good.

I could probably just have ended the review there and told you most of what you wanted to know.  Those of you with a pair of eagle eyes will have noticed that that this is a Highland single malt scotch…those with some even sharper eagle eyes (yes I’m using that phrase because its an eagle on the bottle) will notice the bottle also says ‘peated’.  Now, among the four scotch making regions in Scotland only one is famous for using peat to dry their barley (Islay), and it gives them a distinctly smokey flavor.  Highlands typically are light and fruity and sometimes a bit fruity.  For those new to the world of scotch, let me tell you, this is an almost unheard of combination.  So now that I’ve said my piece, why don’t we let the distillers say theirs:

What they say: “Full & rich, with unique Highland peat-smoked notes.

Founded in 1898 by one of Scotland’s most famous whisky families, Ardmore Single Malt has a long commitment to quality.  William Teacher was a believer in traditional distilling methods and insisted that Ardmore only used the aromatic smoke from natural, Highland peat fires to dry our malted barley.

Sadly, today, the high cost has meant that only one Highland Distillery still routinely fully ‘peats’ its standard malt.  Ardmore is rightly proud to be that distillery.  Our traditional methods extend to maturation.  Ardmore Traditional Cask is double matured, first in the more usual oak barrels, and then in much smaller ‘Quarter Casks’.  These were common in the 19th century, but are too costly for most distillers to use today.

Finally, bottled at 46% ABV, Ardmore is only barrier rather than chill filtered thus preserving the natural flavours.  These methods ensure we maintain the quality of our uniquely complex and rewarding malt whisky.”

Okay, I’m interested.  They do go on a bit, but if you’re the last of a dying breed you’d want to brag a bit too; and while this isn’t among the best scotches I’ve tasted, these people certainly got some things right. As an extra special treat, this week since we got some of the crew together the scores a little less one-sided!

Taste: 6.67 – “Comes on like a fairly standard highland, all light wood and fruit, but with a nice smokiness even in the beginning.”

Aftertaste: 7.0 – “Aftertaste is much more complex, still have the fruit and the wood, but peat and smoke start to mix in a strange and pleasant way”

Burn/Smooth: 4.75 – This is not a very smooth scotch, considering its a highland.  A bit harsh going down, but it does give a pleasant warm feeling at the end”

Aroma: 7.33 – Earth and Wood and Smoke, a bit harsh but not terribly unpleasant.

Honesty: 7.5 – They go on a bit on the outer container, but the bottle itself is simple straight forward and would look good in any liquor cabinet/bar.

Mixability: 6.5

On the Rocks: 6.5 – This is one of those scotches that was made to be put on rocks.  The one or two cubes of ice just remove every bit of unpleasantness from the burn and leave you with a woody, floral Highland flavor, followed closely with a gentle smokey aftertaste; however William and The Buffalo feels it takes too much away from the taste.

Value: 8.0 –  This scotch does give you more for your money than you’d expect especially at around $30

Google Shop Average: $33

Reviewer Scores:

Justice: 6.5

William: 8

Buffalo: 7

Want to compare this spirit against our archives? Visit our statistics page.

Metric Score: 47.75/70 |+| Metric Average: 6.82 |+| Reviewer Average: 7.17

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Final Thoughts:

Despite the Google Shop Average, I picked this up for around $31, and after tasting a glass of this I know I got a steal.  (Editor’s Note: The prices vary wildly between 30’s and 40’s) I’m a huge fan of the smokier, peaty scotches and they will always be my favorites. That being said, in the warmer months I prefer to go with the lighter, more fruity and floral scotches native to the Highland and Speyside regions.  This scotch brings those two things together in an unexpected and pleasing way.  Through two cubes of ice in a glass and pour this on top on a cool summer night and you will not be disappointed.