Friday, February 13, 2009

Port Ellen 21 year old

Port Ellen 21 Year Old
Bottled by: Provenance, Douglas McGibbon (independent bottler)
ABV: 46%
Other: Non-chill filtered, no color added, sherry cask, single cask DMG REF 479, distilled November 1982, bottled August 2004
Region: Islay
Price: $200
Availability: Closed distillery. Rare

After reading about the now closed Port Ellen distillery, I decided that I needed to try a bottling before they became even more scarce. I came across this version at Hi-Time on sale. According to the bottle:

The most sought after lost distillery in Scotland; it's a crime that Port Ellen is closed! Built in 1824 and moved to DCL in 1925 then unceremoniously mothballed in the early 80s recession. Port Ellen never reopened but the large maltings next door continue to produce malt today. Port Ellen holds a special place in the history books as shortly after it opened it was used to test the newly invented spirit safe(invented by Septimus Fox) which is now an industry standard. Keep your Port Ellen safe, drink sparingly as it is fast disappearing.

Tasting Notes
deep mohogany, Spanish brandy (Cardenal Mendoza)
Oak, sherry, furniture polish, raisins
starts off with a dark rich sherry, then lots of peat smoke development followed by oak and mulling spices (clove, allspice)
Big, huge peat

Overall impression and notes: Tasting this single malt is tasting history. Nothing is as significant as drinking malt from a great distillery which is now closed forever. This particular bottling has seen a heavy influence over its 21 years of age from the sherry cask. Perhaps some of the distillery character is lost in the process, but this is a characterful and interesting dram nonetheless.


  1. This is the only Islay distillery whisky, I've yet to try. Lucky you to find a bottle on sale? am a fan of the Islay style,Ardbeg being my favourite.

  2. I have a fascination with the closed distilleries. I was lucky enough to try a Brora 1977 at a malt bar in Toronto which was a treat.

    I like the Islay style as well. Re: Ardbeg - I've only had the 10y - I'm interested to try some older versions.

  3. The 17 year old is probably my favourite, athough the Uigedail has such intense peatsmoke, that you will never forget it.