Port Charlotte Islay single Malt
80 OF US WORK AT OUR DISTILLERY ON ISLAY.
BUT TOGETHER, WE ARE A WHISKY REVOLUTION.
OUR ISLAY IS A DYNAMIC, ENERGETIC COMMUNITY.
WE WILL NOT USE THE BADGE OF ISLAY WITHOUT DUE DILIGENCE.
WE INSIST ON PROVENANCE OVER YIELD.
80 OF US LIVE AND WORK HERE AT OUR DISTILLERY ON ISLAY.
For too long Islay has been exploited by those seeking to trade on the cachet of its name. It’s become a badge to add credibility and value, with increasingly fragile links to the the reality of the island.
Islay has become a flavour profile not a provenance, with distillers importing barley from outside Scotland, then shipping spirit off the island to mature in undisclosed mainland warehouses.
What does it really mean to be an Islay single malt? To us it means commitment to Islay, investment in place and people, it means that everything must happen here, on the island and in the community. The whisky must be a true expression of the land, the culture, the people.
Port Charlotte single malt is the antidote to convenience and market manipulation.
We’re rooted in the culture and community of this island. Of eight distilleries on the island we’re the second smallest, yet we are its largest private employer; eighty of our one hundred strong team are based here. This means something.
From the outset it has been our ambition to create the highest provenance Islay whisky. There are easier places to make whisky. Easier methods and processes. And it’s cheaper to build warehouses on the mainland. But we’re not interested in easy options.
We believe to be called an Islay malt brings with it responsibilities – responsibilities to our community and to future generations here. This is not a mythical land of legend and tradition; our Islay is vibrant, dynamic, young and passionate. To us, Islay is not a label or a marketing equity. It’s our home and it’s at the centre of our decision making.
Port Charlotte single malt is conceived, distilled, matured and bottled only on Islay.
Our Port Charlotte single malts are peated to a heavyweight 40PPM. Trickle distilled through our tall, narrow necked still, the resulting rich and aromatic spirit has all the power of peat with the elegance and finesse for which our stills famous.
All our spirits are matured all their life in our warehouses on the side of Loch Indaal, Islay, gradually responding to the sea air and unique seasonal changes of Scotland’s west coast. Each cask is carefully watched over by our team, before being bottled in our Harvey Hall, using Islay spring water.
Port Charlotte single malt explores the complexities of natural whisky, through barley provenance, cask influence and the passing of time. It is living proof that our values are rooted in provenance, authenticity and transparency.
Stay in touch with us here on Islay for new & exclusive bottlings, local events, digital tastings and other Laddie magic.
We are unashamedly experimental. By no means exhaustive, we hope you enjoy browsing this small selection of our historic Port Charlotte single malt bottlings.
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It started with our friend ‘Demolition Dave’ helping Duncan McGillivray and his gang to demolish the old Inverleven distillery – buying up all the old equipment for scrap and loading it onto barges on the Clyde. All so Duncan had some spares to keep Bruichladdich running in the days of No Money.
As this odd flotilla was being towed round the Mull of Kintyre and up to Islay, Laddie MD Mark Reynier received an email from the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in the USA who had been monitoring distillery webcams on the grounds that our processes could have been ‘tweaked’ to produce the dreaded WMD. ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’.
Never one to allow the opportunity for a good story to pass him by, or to get his beloved distillery in the news, Reynier embellished the tale, which soon grew to involve spies and the CIA and visits by weapons inspectors. All of which made great headline-grabbing copy in the febrile media atmosphere then prevailing around WMD.
One of the stills from Inverleven was dutifully set up outside the old Victorian buildings, and became an iconic sight, with a pair of Duncan’s old wellie boots sticking out of the top to represent those weapons inspectors searching for dangerous chemicals deep in its copper bottomed interior.
A special bottling was commissioned (of course) and dubbed the ‘Whisky of Mass Distinction’ (geddit?) and much hilarity ensued. At least among the Laddies, the rest of the whisky industry having long since given up on the noisily irreverent rebels.
Things were about to get even more eccentric because, shortly afterwards, Islay fisherman John Baker was heading home to Port Ellen when he spotted something awash in the sea off the bow of his boat. Being a resourceful man, he attached a rope to said object and towed it into the pier where Gordon Currie lifted it out of the water. It proved to be a very beautiful yellow submarine.
Very conveniently, the yellow vessel had ‘Ministry of Defence’ and a telephone number stencilled on it, which was of course immediately called. What happened next was to become the stuff of legend. He was connected to the Royal Navy. “I have found your yellow submarine” said John. “We haven’t lost a yellow submarine” said the Navy. Which was an odd response as the evidence to the contrary was overwhelming.
John and Gordon then loaded the submarine onto a lorry and took it to a secret location in Port Ellen (actually fellow fisherman Harold Hastie’s back garden). The local newspaper was called, then the nationals, and the following day the red-tops were full of pictures of the two friends astride the lethal-looking machine, carrying fishing rods, and asking: “Has anybody lost a yellow submarine?”
Hilarious… unless you were the Royal Navy – who did eventually admit to it being theirs. HMS Blyth, the minesweeper that lost it, eventually came to pick it up, slipping into the pier at dawn to winch it aboard. By that time, Bruichladdich had (of course) commissioned another bottling, WMD2: The Yellow Submarine, and a box of lovely liquid was graciously offered, and accepted by the captain as a goodwill gesture.