Port Ellen, 1981, Islay, Single Cask, Cask of Distinction, 48.9%, NV

  Port Ellen

Port Ellen, 1981, Islay, Single Cask, Cask of Distinction, 48.9%

One of only 174 bottles, this liquid was aged in a hogshead cask and bottled recently after being purchased by a private collector.

A classic Port Ellen with exemplary character and vigor. Full gold, with beguiling aromas of beach seaweed, oily boat engines and sweet fruit.

With a little water, the sweet aromas rise, joined by a soft waxy note. The texture is smooth and light. The taste starts sweet; soon there are salty-spicy waves of pungent, maritime, deliciously smoky heat. Water brings up the sweetness and spiciness and cools the heart, with hints of char and citrus.

The finish is long, charred and smoky-sweet, fading to sweet-spicy oak and white pepper.

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.