Port Ellen, 1978, 35 Year Old, Islay, (14th Release), 1978

  Port Ellen

£1995.83 for 1x70cl
 
Port Ellen, 1978, 35 Year Old, Islay, (14th Release)

A glorious grande dame, superb in every way and with a poise and self-assurance born of long experience. An unexpected Port Ellen with a warming, spicy, gingery edge to its traditional sweet and smoky nature: captivating at cask strength, while a little water reveals a charming sweetness in the nose and richness and depth on the palate.

Appearance: Bright, deep gold with amber lights. Fine beading.

Nose: Sophisticated and understated: dry overall, opening with distant, faint smoke, before a wave of familiar sweet and smoky notes, among which hints of hessian and warm wood are all that suggest great age. The distant smoke soon grows closer and more fragrant, while above it drift pleasing sweet aromas of honey-cured smoked meats or root vegetable. Through all this a fresh, cleansing note rises, to vie with sweet mint and sharp citrus – winey hints too. Finally, smooth, dark cocoa, some vanilla and more wood smoke.

With water, first sweet, then more muted and savoury, though later a fruity clarity, sweetly returns.

Body: Smooth and agreeably oily.

Palate: Immediate and lively! At first, rich and honeyed, the sweetness perfectly balanced by maritime salt as if to suggest sweet seaweed. Then, unexpected notes of citrus and ginger burst like lime and ginger marmalade on wholemeal toast. . In turn, this sunny edge is clouded by sweet smoke, rising against a velvety backdrop of dark chocolate. The rich character remains in essence unchanged when reduced with water; still warming, the citrus becomes orange oil, with ginger and modest smoke.

Finish: Very long and warming, with crisp ginger and citrus, and fresh, menthol-clean notes that rise against a backdrop of drying, oaky wood smoke.

Contains Sulphites.

About Port Ellen

Port Ellen was established as a malt mill on Islay’s famous south coast in 1825. It developed into a major distillery under John Ramsay from 1833-92. Trading directly with North America, in 1848 Ramsay secured the right to export whisky in larger casks and to store it in bonded duty free warehouses prior to export. The system endures.

The warehouses he built also still exist, and are listed buildings today. In 1967 the distillery was rebuilt, producing through the 1970s and closing in 1983. The Port Ellen name is kept alive by the island’s maltings. Previous Special Releases of Port Ellen have regularly won Gold or Silver Medals at IWSC. A 29 year old was also voted Best Single Malt Scotch, winning Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2009. The equal oldest Port Ellen ever released, we think that this example perfectly illustrates the remarkable potential longevity of this now legendary single malt.

Appellation: Islay

Islay, the southernmost of the Scottish islands, is almost always recognised by its peaty expression. Islay is covered in peat bogs and in traditional times burning peat was the most effective way of heating and drying the barley used in whisky production. As peat burns it releases pungent peaty smoke which in turn infused the drying barley and influences style.

Among its famous active distilleries, Islay boasts one of the most legendary of ‘lost’ producers: Port Ellen which closed doors in 1983. Beyond the obvious lurks a surprising diversity of spirit, making the identity of Islay whisky a more elusive prospect than might first appear.

Islay is also one of the fastest growing whisky regions in Scotland with several new distilleries having come online in recent years.