The decision to reopen the Port Charlotte distillery was a bold one. The town of Port Charlotte was founded by Walter Frederick Campbell in 1828 and named for his mother. Port Charlotte was built to accommodate workers at the Lochindaal distillery, which was founded a year later in 1829. The distillery lies on Islay’s southern shores and , over the course of its existence, was known as the Rhinns distillery and, of course, Port Charlotte.
In 2007, Bruichladdich announced their plans to reopen the distillery. In a press release they commented on their wish to build "an example of green and ethical distillation". Barley will be grown and malted on Islay and electricity will be produced using sea power. The equipment has seen life before; the stills and machinery were transported from the now silent Inverleven distillery in Dunbarton. The distillery will have been shut for the best part of a century, closing as it did in 1929. The US Prohibition had left such a lack in demand that many distilleries closed around this time, though some reopened after Prohibition was relinquished, Lochindaal did not.
Bruichladdich have already experimented with heavily peated whisky, releasing the Port Charlotte series in 2006, though not to be confused with the bottlings that will surely come from their new venture. The organic malted barley used at the Port Charlotte distillery will be at least 50ppm, reaching those lofty peat levels of the more pungent Ìleach single malts. One can already reserve whisky from the distillery, Bruichladdich have destined the first 100 casks for general sale to the public.
To keep the customers satisfied Bruichladdich released the PC range of whiskies, labeled ‘Port Charlotte’. These are distilled at the Bruichladdich distillery, and are well-peate, paying homage to the very peated whisky once produced at the Port Charlotte distillery. The PC range of whiskies is matured in the warehouses at Port Charlotte. The first few releases were all distilled in 2001, and there have been three, each numbered with its age: PC6, PC7 and the recent PC8.