Friday, 28 October 2011

Lost Distilleries Chapter 4: Port Ellen 1978 and Port Ellen 1982

Ellen & I drinking an altogether
different beverage... bubble tea
There is one whisky above all that I would consider the Elysium of all whisky. I am not being at all original in saying this, but Port Ellen remains the whisky I hold in highest regard. I can only defend this pandering to the old and rare through how I was introduced to this finest of malts.

A little while back when I was still fairly new to whisky I was stood in my kitchen cooking a tasty treat. Then in walks my girlfriend Ellen (no prize for guessing the whisky she had bought) grinning, holding something behind her back. She then produced a miniature bottle of Port Ellen. Now at this point I should have dropped to my knees and kissed the ground she walked on, for this was my first ever Port Ellen. Perhaps not unfortunately, my whisky knowledge was fairly limited. I was aware that Port Ellen was an expensive and well-liked malt but I did not realise how rare and brilliant it is. So a little while later I poured myself a glass and happily enjoyed it. I loved it, its flavour profile and weight instantly appealed to me. Yum...

Of course now I realise how ignorantly I consumed this Port Ellen. However I think the fact that I loved this whisky so much without realising its value says a lot about the actual quality of this superb dram. Since then I have also tried the latest Diageo Special Release and was once again bowled over. This peated whisky is, for me, a fantastic expression of how smoke and body can harmonise perfectly with one another.

Port Ellen 1982
43% - 28 Years Old - Bottled in 2010 by Gordon & Macphail - Refill Sherry Butt
Nose: Linoleum struck me first with floral iodine notes complimented with a smoky, salty and seaweed scent combo.
Palate: Supple mouthfeel (light with some texture), the peat smoke swirls on a coastal grapey saltiness with a touch of sulphur (in no way a criticism).
Finish: Seabreeze with a burst of tropical fruits that hold on for a long time to come.
Overall: Light, saline and smoky; everything I want in a whisky. The peat doesn't overpower nor is it too light, excellent balance, why is this distillery closed?!

Port Ellen 1978
53.9% - 32 Years Old - 2,988 Numbered Bottles
Nose: I get that maritime linoleum character again with peat intricately woven in. The nose is gentle and sweet with soft vanilla and toffee notes becoming almonds over time.
Palate: Light and fruity, like soft fruitcake with a touch of honey and a hint of salt.
Finish: Pepper and smoke cling on to begin with, followed by light pine.
Overall: A great distillery edition, the sweet fruitiness surprised me as I was expecting the more coastal quality of my previous contact with Port Ellen. However the balance of flavour and smoke remained with that light mouthfeel being retained. More please!

1 comment:

  1. Bubble tea? Is this from Soho, I now theres a store..