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

June 24, 2019


The little four hand sessions

Today Port Ellen old and new (hence very old)

We know what we're trying to say. It’s always cool to taste a new Port Ellen, but aren’t they becoming a little old indeed? We’ll see, but first, the usual aperitif…

Port Ellen 25 yo 1982/2007 (52%, Old Bothwell for Jens Steinert)

Port Ellen 25 yo 1982/2007 (52%, Old Bothwell for Jens Steinert) Five stars
Colour: deep gold. Nose: woo-ooh, whaaah… This is stunning! Lots of hessian, canvas, rope, fishing nets, tar, it’s really fat, smoky and greasy, and extremely Port Ellen. This natural dirtiness that’s very typical, rubber boots full of seawater, pipe tar, sheep wool, kippers smothered with butter and lemon juice (says Angus, who’s about to get hungry, apparently), peat embers… With water: some extreme kind of smoked curry, embrocations, mercurochrome, coal smoke, smoked mackerel covered in black pepper (says Angus, why ask), lots more tar, lots more hessian, lots more smoke, oilier smoke, engine oil, mechanical, smokes… Mouth (neat): rich, heavy, ridden with pepper and more tar, fish sauce, very oily, like creosote, olive oil mixed with brine, black tapenade, pipe juice, gentian cordial, smoked mussels… It’s all excellent but quite extreme, some kind of Black Sabbath of whisky shall we say. Ozzy pre-Sharon, says Angus. With water: salted honey, salted bitter ale, medicine and chalk, beach pebbles, some bitter oranges… Finish: very long, with more greener spices, juniper, curry leaf, bonfire smoke, caraway… Take that, Jägermeister! Comments: one of hundreds of very very good Port Ellens. Quite extreme. And well done Jens, retrospectively.

SGP:376 – 91 points (Angus 91).

Port Ellen 39 yo 1978/2018 (50.9%, OB, Untold Stories series, 1500 bottles)

Port Ellen 39 yo 1978/2018 (50.9%, OB, Untold Stories series, 1500 bottles) Five stars
This ex-bourbon and refill sherry. What to say? Well it’s said to be the oldest Port Ellen ever but there’s also a new private 40 for some kind of Chinese dude. Great guy, I’ve heard, also that everyone’s buying him rounds in the bars these days ;-). Colour: gold. Nose: the wonders of some great casks blended together. Fantastic smoked honeys, many oils including rapeseed and grape pips, beach wood, sandalwood, dried seaweed, many elegant teas, bergamot, earl grey, hessian, perhaps a little hashish, then unfolding citrus, exotic hardwood resin, jasmine, green banana… Really intricate nose, superbly complex, you could even find, somewhere in there, a little kumquat from the Flatlands. With water: green olives, anchovies, a little squid ink, salted pistachios, and a delicate mildly smoky nuttiness. Smoked almonds and beeswax. Mouth (neat): looks like some casks had gotten too woody, but that other casks managed to offset that effect. Angus finds his beloved preserved lemons, something mechanical which may allude to that PE dirtiness which seems to disappear after 30 years, then a perfect salt/mint/lemon combination. Some English mustard powder, adds Angus. With water: the palate opens really beautifully with water, it becomes wider and even more powerful. Bitter oils, mead, heather, dried litchis and longans, a little bit of tarragon as well… Finish: long, on lemon peel, gentle medical notes, embrocations, smoked olive oil (provided such thing exists, Angus), salted cookies, smoked salmon, tiger balm… It really is endless, Port Ellen’s always got some of the longest finishes. Comments: these batches of casks that made up many Special Releases just seem to be evergreen.

SGP:455 – 92 points (Angus 92).







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