We’re back to a Scotch Malt Whisky Society review, with this Port Charlotte 2001 from their Vault collection. We had a younger PC last year with a 2003 Hidden Spirits that was beautiful, so expectations were high with this one. I use the past as I’ve already tasted it a few weeks ago, after purchasing the bottle for a friend, who almost immediately opened it and shared it. Let’s jump to the review of this Port Charlotte 2001 SMWS 127.45 Leviathan, I can’t wait to taste it again.
Port Charlotte 2001 SMWS 127.45 Leviathan Review
This 20-year-old Port Charlotte was part of October 2022’s outturn. Just 105 out of the 176 bottles were available for the whole world to buy, with just 30 bottles for Europe I think. And strangely, they started to disappear even before the outturn was officially out. But I was ready and got one of the last 25 bottles for my friend Eraldo, a fan of Port Charlotte. This Port Charlotte was distilled on the 5th of July 2001 at Bruichladdich Distillery, and left to mature for 20 years in a first-fill ex-bourbon cask, until it was bottled for October 2022’s outturn. The 176 bottles were filled at cask strength, 58.7% ABV, without chill filtration nor colouring. The RRP was a cough inducing €369.90 in Europe, and a way more reasonable £275 in the UK. All the bottles sold out in minutes, so you’ll have to go to an SMWS venue or have a lucky and generous friend to try it.
Neat: Intense! Just pouring my sample into the glass and I can smell it from all over my whisky room! You immediately get a maritime peat smoke full of iodine and sea spray, crushed shells and driftwood. Once you get past the peaty and maritime notes, you’ll find citrus with lemon and grapefruit juices. Then bandages, tiger balm, and wet linen.
With water: A bit of wood appears, and the nose gets a bit sharper. Then the peat gets toned down a bit, letting more place to the medicinal notes found earlier, with antiseptic added to the list.
Neat: Surprisingly soft arrival at first, then you’re hit by the strong peat and a kick of spices. The peat express itself with wood smoke, ash, soot and charcoal. Chocolate and espresso cream, unlit cigar, then we’re back to the spices with chili pepper. There is also a mineral side with wet pebbles, flint and calcite. Orange, custard cream and quite some liquorice.
With water: Fruitier arrival, more citrusy and spicy. Unlike the nose, I don’t find water to tone down the peat. Creamy and oily mouthfeel, really nice.
Peat smoke, soot, flint and pepper, moving to tabasco sauce and wasabi. Long, with a nice soft warmth lingering on.
Wow I must admit I never really had Port Charlotte on my radar, but this one is excellent. Huge peat even after 20 years in a cask (peat usually softens with time). But it’s not just peat, with a very medicinal and mineral nose, and a smoky, spicy and mineral palate. I wouldn’t have bought a bottle for myself because of the price (still reasonable compared to the other Vault releases these days, though), but I’m glad my friend Eraldo asked me to buy one for him and generously shared it immediately when I gave him his bottle. Excellent Islay whisky. Thanks Eraldo!
stolen… courtesy of SMWS