Port Ellen, 1979, 37 Year Old, Islay, (17th Release), NV

  Port Ellen

Port Ellen, 1979, 37 Year Old, Islay, (17th Release)

This is the equal oldest Port Ellen ever released, and it’s an elegant classic, hitting all the notes you could want in style. Who needs power when you have all of this well-mannered yet complex elegance, with its fine balance of sweet fruit, honeyed citrus, smoke, warmth and oak?

Appearance: Deep 18CT gold.

Nose: Light yet complex. Peat-reek, damp bark, charred wax, flowers and tropical fruits pursued by familiar chamois leather and sherbet lemon. The fragrance evolves as a new mown spring meadow, all wild flowers and grass, fading to a darker, savoury earthiness with dry peat and brushwood while the leather picks up spice, all of it wreathed in gentle scented woodsmoke. A drop of water makes the aromas really smooth and waxy, raising scented candles and a trace of cinnamon, with noticeable smoke, warm spices, honey, tropical and stone fruits.

Body:Rich, medium to heavy.

Palate: Fabulously smooth; oily-textured, sweet and fruity. Lemony citrus, then that savoury earthiness, with fragrant damp grass, ripefruit (spiced peaches) and spicy smoked meats. As with the nose,the earthy notes build, mixing in dark chocolate, scented woodsmoke and burnt orange, before a sweeter and lighter note of freshly sliced apple, spiced and sweetened, livens things up. A drop of water lowers the spicy heat ,leaving orchard fruit ,slightly charred, and softly sweeter, with a little sweet mint.

Finish: Smooth, warming and spicy ,with aromatic smoke. Digestive biscuits, crisp green grapes and lingering notes of earth, damp leaf and charred oak. Water enhances all this, and there’s a fine smoky-waxy after-taste.

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.