SMWS 127.44 Cantina Mexicana (Port Charlotte) @smwsuk
Distillery – Port Charlotte (Bruichladdich)
Maturation – second fill ex-oloroso sherry butt
Age – 12 years old
Non Chill Filtered
No Added Colouring
£120 (for members) from SMWS’ Islay Festival Party
£240 (non-members – but why aren’t you a member anyway?! :))
First pour and sniff, inviting fruit cocktail with a background air of bonfire smoke. Just a few sniffs and the bonfire is enraged and bellowing out its epic delightful fume. A little time and the smoke clears a little revealing a softer, creamier, buttery side. Touches of milk left in the sun and some fizzy refresher sweeties. A little more time and the nose continues to evolve, now quite vegetal in prominence, damp forest floors with lots of rotting foliage (in a good way). A little more time and we are back to a fruit basket, baked apples and forest berries stewing away in a pot. Suggestion of honey and thick toffee to come in time or with a bit of water added (we will see). It’s a lively and lovely Port Charlotte nose, very vibrant and representative. Lots going on and lots of fun to have with it without even sipping!
Woh, it’s big, very complex. Arrival is tart, sour lemons, quite sharp indeed, thick bitter toffee, but then slowly a buttery softness comes through, lots of ashy soot, ashtray stuff, the toffee becomes creamy, fizzy fruit bonbons. The mouthfeel is huge and invasive. The development continues into the fields (literally) with some earthy green, damp moss and akin to chewing liquorice root. Some thick berry jamminess comes through late making this very chewy indeed.
An effervescent fruit toffee reduction lasts around for absolutely ages, with the smoke coming back with every slight exhale or burp, feels like I’ve been smoking again! A lactic milkiness also accompanies the smoky after event. It goes on and on and on, it’s a proper Duracell finish!
A fair amount added and sat. The nose still retains a large amount of bonfire pyre smoke. The nasal experience is more concentrated around the herbal elements, burning heather, burnt liquorice root chewed heavily. A creamy porridge cereal note is prominent. The sweeter elements are more treacle on top of porridge with a few red berries surrounding it. The palate is much less sharp, arrival still has a bitter edge, but is quicker to become thick and sweet, with the toffee and fudgey caramel notes coming through. The finish returns to the familiar undiluted finish, smoky burps, less effervescent and slightly fruitier, very creamy and the cereals also stick around, still immensely long, I’m going to be tasting this in the morning.
A great single cask Port Charlotte, very reminiscent of some of the Valinch releases I’ve had direct from the distillery. Immensely jealous of all those going to Feis Ile this coming week, but this has brought a little bit of the party to my lounge, so I’m very happy for that experience. The only slight quibble I have over this whisky is the price point. It is expensive. If you can afford it and like the sound of it though it is a great experience whisky.
Thanks so much to SMWS for providing the review sample.