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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Port Charlotte An Turas Mor versus Port Charlotte Scottish Barley

(Port Charlotte cluster homepage)

An Turas Mor ("The Great Journey") was an official NAS Port Charlotte release from 2010 and 2012. It was replaced by the NAS Scottish Barley expression once Remy Cointreau bought Bruichladdich Distillery and its brands in 2013. Scottish Barley was itself replaced by the full-time 10 year old in 2018.

Today I'll compare these two former Port Charlotte standard NAS whiskies. To be honest, I've always preferred the flavor of the limited Islay Barley releases over these standards, but it's been many years since I've tried them. So I'll start the cluster here.


Port Charlotte An Turas Mor, US release ca. 2012, 46%abv
(Thank you to JLR for the sample!)

The nose begins with grain, hay and Ardbeggy soot. A few minutes later, cinnamon, green bananas, burnt flour and burnt tires appear. Then comes kale and warm oregano. Okay, weed. Reducing the whisky to 40%abv tames the nose, resulting in notes of wood smoke, brown sugar, vanilla bean and pear.

Aromatic peat smoke and tangy oranges make up most of the simple palate. Grass, cinnamon and burnt plastic linger around the edges. Only bitter smoke, peppercorns and an aggressive sugariness remains once the whisky is diluted to 40%abv.

It finishes bitter and tangy, with smaller notes of pepper and plastic. When reduced to 40%abv, the whisky finishes bitterly and grassy with a little bit of salt.

Port Charlotte Scottish Barley, Europe release ca. 2017, 50%abv
(from a purchased sample)

Dried apricot and madeira meet cloves and moderate peat smoke in the nose. Notes of almond extract, confectioner's sugar and pound cake stay in the background. Diluting the whisky to 40%abv brings out mint extract and ocean notes. Circus peanuts, too. The smoke becomes simpler, muted.

The palate is lightly sweet and savory, with more of those tangy oranges. In fact the smoke itself reads tangy. A grassy bitterness grows with time. Reducing the whisky to 40%abv and......I think I killed it. It's just bitter smoke and peppercorns. Maybe some limes?

The finish's zing is more like chiles than peppercorns. Small bits of oranges, peat and bitterness here and there. Down at 40%abv there's only peat, heat and peppercorns in the finish.


These are the politest Port Charlottes I've ever had, with nothing setting them apart from most other peated whiskies. Yes, they're accessible, as standard releases usually are, but they are also forgettable. If either of these is your first PC, you'll likely wonder what the big deal is.

An Turas Mor reads VERY young, even for a Port Charlotte. I believe it has all ex-bourbon cask components, which can be a good thing. In this case, it's left feeling like a work in progress (though not of Kilkerran quality). I can't believe I'm saying this but I wish some wine casks were involved.

I do believe wine casks, or some sort of non-bourbon cask elements, are at play in the Scottish Barley. Or at least the nose shouts as much. There's more going on in its palate, compared to An Turas Mor, but it still feels thinnish even at 50%abv.

These are fine. I expect more than "fine" from Port Charlotte.


Port Charlotte An Turas Mor - 79

Port Charlotte Scottish Barley - 82

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