Port Ellen, 1983, 32 Year Old, Islay, (15th Release), 1983

  Port Ellen

Port Ellen, 1983, 32 Year Old, Islay, (15th Release)

Like some memory of a fiery event, this sweet, intense, enigmatic and uncompromising Port Ellen displays a complex tour de force of aromas and flavours; it has a profound smokiness, more easily approached with water: deeply complex and carrying its years elegantly, this is an outstandingly dark expression, exceptional both as a Port Ellen and by any standards.

Appearance: Polished teak. Good beading.

Nose: Immediate, intense and very complex. At first it’s deeply fruity, with red apple skins or fresh pears in wine. Presently a rich toffee note develops, over a waxy mineral base that becomes beach-like (hot sand, sea air, seaweed, bonfire ash) as the assault grows. Meanwhile, away from the beach, soft liquid brown sugar mud-wrestles menthol while dried orange peel, fruitcake and far-off fresh clean notes, soon joined by toffee, honey and ripe autumnal fruits, look on from seats of ex-sherry wood. Beautifully honeyed with water, as the toffee is wreathed in wood smoke to yield a sweet pungency, with just a memory of malt.

Body: Medium.

Palate: Wonderful at natural strength. Sweet, prickly and drying, with a great mix of wood ash, burnt jam tarts, treacle toffee and caramelized orange. Then yet more all-pervading smoke with a spicy-herbal complex featuring cloves. Water makes things cooler and milder yet doesn’t alter the well-balanced flavour profile. Dark toffee first, then smoked meats, kippers, ash and cleansing phenols.

Finish: Long, cooling and complex: drying, yet also coating. Instantly appetising, with toffee apple, burnt toast, lemon zest, ripe red apples, a burnt plum tart. Deeply herbal and heavy with wood smoke, which is softer with water: minty now, with barley sugar, while the charred toast is spread with honey.

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.