Port Charlotte “An Turas Mor”

An Turas Mor“An Turas Mor” means “end of the journey” or something along those lines in Scots Gaelic and was one of Bruichladdich’s releases leading up to the long awaited release of the regular 10 yo in their heavily peated Port Charlotte line. I have a sample of that new Port Charlotte 10 on my shelves and a review of that will likely appear soon as well.

This was opened a few months ago for one of our local group’s monthly tastings–it then sat at the half-full mark for a few months before being featured again in our tasting for March. On both occasions it was the fourth of four malts tasted and followed another less aggressively peated malt. I was interested to see how our group–which tastes everything blind–would rate it right after opening and then after it had sat a while. As it happens, as a group we were all over the map. One cluster rated it about the same on both occasions. Another cluster rated it much higher on the first occasion than on the second. And a third and smaller cluster had it slightly higher on the second occasion. Its aggregate score dipped a few points on the second occasion. I myself had it slightly higher on the first occasion than on the second, finding the palate and finish to have lost a little oomph. It is, however, the case that I am the only one in the group who does not taste blind and so I knew I was drinking the second, “oxidized” half of the bottle.

Anyway, these notes were taken from the second half of the bottle.

Port Charlotte “An Turas Mor” (46%; from my own bottle)

Nose: Peated lemons with a faint gasoline edge. A little butyric (sour milk) and just a tiny bit soapy. Some muskier fruit too and some floral notes. After a while there’s some buttery, creamy vanilla. The smoke expands with time and mixes with the sweeter fruit. With even more time the lemon comes back. Hmm a few drops of water seem to bring the soap back.

Palate: Less lemony on the palate and more sooty and minerally (wet stones). Neither the butryic nor the soapy notes are apparent and the fruity and floral notes are muted too. With time there’s some vanilla sweetness. On the second and third sip I get more salt and, alas, some of that soap. Water doesn’t emphasize the soap on the palate but it does seem to make the smoke expand and become more acrid.

Finish: Medium-long. Ashy and a little acidic. The ash lingers long after the acid is gone. After a while the salt hangs around too. The finish becomes rounder with water and the lemon begins to hang around now too.

Comments: As I noted, I liked it more when the bottle was first opened, but, the soap aside, this is not bad either–especially on the nose (once the butyric and soapy notes depart). However, if it were the regular release I’d see no reason to buy it over the Caol Ila 12 or the Laphroaig and Ardbeg 10s. And I felt that way even when the bottle was fresh. I’ll be interested to see how the Port Charlotte 10 compares.

Rating: 83 points.

6 thoughts on “Port Charlotte “An Turas Mor”

  1. MAO, I set aside some samples from a newly opened 10yr (bottled in 2013), but it sounds like you already have a sample. FWIW (based on 2 drinks) it is nothing like your ATM notes.

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  2. The butyric notes that you mention sound like oxidized whisky. In general, the notes, sans the peat, remind me of an Alchemist Bruichladdich I had a couple years ago. I wonder whether Bruichladdich juice in general is prone to oxidation, in either the open bottle (exposure to oxygen) or closed (heat and sunlight exposure, etc.) I so far have Glenlivet and Balvenie on the suspect list for fast oxidation. I don’t know if it’s the flavor profile, the ABV, the body type, or a combination of the above.

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    • We all remarked the butyric note on the first occasion as well when the bottle had just been opened–and I get it on a lot of Bruichladdich’s whiskies, including the Laddie 10, which I was not as big a fan of as some.

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      • Hi there, excuse me for butting in.

        That butyric note you detected in the Laddie 10 I also got, though didn’t identify it as such. It was, though, a peculiar (to me unpleasant) sourness that, looking back, did have a distinct lactic characteristic.

        I gave my bottle a good crack but simply couldn’t get into it so gave a bit away and left the rest aside in the bottle. Interestingly,when I went back to it a good 6-9 months later, that sour note had gone, leaving a quite delicious creamy roundness in its wake. I really enjoyed the remnants of this bottle, and have now bought another to conduct a similar test.

        Cheers

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        • Thanks for the note, and please do butt in more often.

          My bottle of the Laddie 10, alas, did not improve dramatically, and I gave it enough time to do so. It had pukey notes (sour milk) at the beginning and similar notes at the end, though not quite as strong.

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