Google Port Ellen from 11 to 33

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

April 19, 2017


Port Ellen from 11 to 33

The First Editions (Hunter Laing) have a new Port Ellen, so we’ll try it! This is also a good excuse for first having too rather apéritive-y ones at lighter strength. 

Port Ellen 11 yo (46%, Wilson & Morgan, Barrel Selection, bottled by Cadenhead, +/-1992)

Port Ellen 11 yo (46%, Wilson & Morgan, Barrel Selection, bottled by Cadenhead, +/-1992) Five stars Always a thrill to be able to taste some young Port Ellen! This is probably a 1981, since Cadenhead were having quite a few of those young 1981 PEs in the early 1990s. Colour: straw. Nose: tarry and luminous at the same time. A marinade made out of limejuice and seawater with bits of new tyres inside, which is very Port Ellen indeed. After that, quite a lot of camphor (slight OBE starting to happen?) and a rather sublime sootiness. Old jacket kept near some peat fire. It’s narrow, millimetric, even simple, but it’s just totally perfect. Mouth: lemon curd and bags of ashes, plus some barley syrup, which makes it sweeter than expected. There’s some youth in this, and we even find ‘ideas’ of butter pears. Hints of fish oil, tarry rubber as often, and a growing saltiness. That’s right, it’s also oystery, but not quite kippery. Finish: long, very lemony, then brinier, then very ashy. As for the aftertaste, you’ve got the feeling of having just swallowed a whole ashtray. Comments: rather rounder than other young 10-12yo PEs, but brilliant. SGP:467 – 92 points.

Port Ellen 25 yo 1982/2008 (46%, John Milroy Selection, refill sherry, casks #2030+35)

Port Ellen 25 yo 1982/2008 (46%, John Milroy Selection, refill sherry, casks #2030+35) Four stars In my experience those weren’t the best batches, but it’s still Port Ellen, mind you. Colour: white wine. Nose: this baby’s much chalkier, and more on wet fabric than the youngster, with notes of paint thinner and simply cow dung, as well as quite some porridge. A box of rusty nails, and a little lemon juice. Moderate peatiness. Mouth: there’s something slightly chemical in the arrival, then some peppery brine and some slightly stale lemon and apple juice. Touches of damp cardboard, and really more and more pepper. Feels a tad dissonant at times, but of course it’s very fine whisky. Finish: rather long, and very peppery, while it’s not that smoky. More chalky lemons… We’re not too far from Talisker here. Comments: extremely good, it’s just less ‘pure’ and ‘PE’. Perhaps a death seat after the marvellous youngster by W&M. SGP:356 – 86 points.

Port Ellen 33 yo 1983/2016 (55.9%, The First Editions

Port Ellen 33 yo 1983/2016 (55.9%, The First Editions, Author’s Series, sherry butt, 142 bottles) Five stars The author on the label is the English poet Lord Tennyson, who’s not very famous in France (to say the least). Colour: gold. Nose: it’s now well known that Port Ellen ages particularly well, and particularly slowly. In this case, it’s got as many ashes and bits of tarry rubber as in the earliest days, I’m sure. For example, it’s straighter than the latest official special releases, and this mentholy/camphory smoke as well as the tarry ropes and all the hessian just do wonders. Love this nose – and the sherry stayed right in its place. So, not very noticeable. With water: fabulous, smoked tweed jacket and Islay mud. Rolls and rolls of hessian. Mouth (neat): emblematic arrival, massive, very punchy, wonderfully citrusy, and superbly salty/smoky. Serious, this could be 15 years of age. Magnificent pink grapefruits with some white pepper, some ashes, and a wonderful ultra-dry sootiness, the whole getting tarrier and more almondy by the second. A big Port Ellen, rather for your hipflask than for the club. I’m finding some echoes of the Rare Malts, if that rings a bell. With water: as often, the drying ashes come out more. Some tangerines too. Finish: very long, superb, on, well, just everything that’s needed in an old PE that’s not that old. Citrus, smoke, salt, tar… A lot of tar. Comments: and so I’ve checked good old Wikipedia, and apparently, Tennyson wrote "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure". That fits this little PE just right, very well done Hunter Laing! SGP:567 - 94 points.

(Thank you Jon, Reto, and Tom)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Port Ellen I've tasted so far







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