Port Ellen 1982 31 YO Cask #1511 (Mackillop's Choice)
Port Ellen 1982 31 YO Cask #1511 (Mackillop's Choice), 56,2 %
I must admit I have almost given up on Port Ellen. It was closed in 1983. It has reached legendary status (not 100 % sure why). The prices for Port Ellen as the remaining stock gets increasingly older and more scarce are way past ridiculous, just like old Karuizawa, Brora etc.
I have tasted quite a few whiskies from Port Ellen, and many have been great, quite a few very much OK, and a few not so much. None of them have been worth the astronomical prices demanded today, but I suspect I am no longer in the target audience for these releases.
While it is certainly always interesting to taste a Port Ellen, and I would never turn down the opportunity, I have felt that it has become less and less relevant to post reviews of Port Ellen whisky on this blog.
Well, when all that is said I am making an exception. Partly because it has been a long time since last I reviewed a Port Ellen, partly because this turned out to be one of the better Port Ellens I have tasted, and finally because it is Friday!
Distilled in June 1982, and bottled in March 2014. This is a single cask release, with a total outturn of 306 bottles. It sold for around GBP 565 in the UK, but is now sold out. There are still a few bottles available to buy in Sweden at SEK 9703 (4044301). It is not available in Norway.
Nose (23/25): Oh my, this is a delicate and refined creature. Approach with care, patience, and a light touch. Strawberries. Home-made toffee. Light and creamy caramel sauce. Sweet licorice. Old-school malt drops. A bowl of fresh summer fruits. Add to this a thin but noticeable veil of peat smoke, with a hint of the maritime.
Taste (23/25): Surprisingly peaty for its age. There's some real peaty and spicy punch in this old timer. Chewy and rich mouthfeel. Still it feels very smooth and refined. The spices are more to the fore here than the sweetness; pepper and chili.
Finish (24/25): Looooong aftertaste. Thank you! Tempered peat, spices simmering at a lower heat now, and more sweetness balancing out the overall picture. Malt and oak form a base that feels both soft and solid at the same time. Touch of herbs, citrus and licorice on the finish.
Balance (23/25): What a dreamy malt! Happy to have tasted this one. I could have said I wish I had a bottle, but I've stopped wishing for that. Gather a group of friends, have everyone chip in and have a dram or two each. I can promise you it would be a memory to remember - especially because you would share it with friends!
Image from Master of Malt.
Sláinte! - Thomas