N: I love Port Ellen’s and this dram is indicative of my passion. Its - Boom! in your face: mineral flint, peat smoke, citrus, garage oils on concrete floors - [its all so elemental], coupled with coastal fishing nets and salty sea spray from a variable breeze, iron railings, oak chests, furniture polish, roasted carrots & parsnips,…. Theres one common element - its old stuff, not just the whisky itself nor the expression but the images it evokes - those of yesteryear. Port Ellen whiskies are special things indeed and if you spend long enough with them you’ll find it all, all the sights and smells - revolving round and round on a conveyor belt holding a plethora of smells from childhood. Sea shells [of course i licked them], pebbles, fried bread?!, deet!, jasmine, beer brewers fermenting yeast, algae covered rockery stones, lily ponds, and then every so often you get the a kiss of peated malt which quickly passes by on its aroma rotation cycle. As i was going for a wee sip I got a bonfire that was three days past going out, fabulous stuff, one of the best.
T: Malty rich, intensely savoury and herbal [spearmint and nettles] sweet - THEN, a tidal wave of salivating new engine oil, and linseed oil which soakes the palate with like nothing ive experienced before, even more arresting that the Brora 30 9th release WB with the same vibrancy. Port Ellen is the ultimate Islay malt for me as it has touches of the whole islands’ distilleries as well as its own unique idiosyncrasies - it is the BOSS. The development goes on and on….oily, seasoned, mineral, herbal, citrus…. Add a drop of water to every mouthful and you get the creme!
F: Like so many impressive malts that give everything on the nose, arrival and development, theres nothing missing at this point, Im only left to mention what lingers many ticks and tock after the main event: Elderflowers, crab apples, milky smoke, some vanilla, grit, mineral, flint, stone, rubble, chalk, brick dust. Its not half as drying as it sounds but anything would seem drying in comparison to the rehydrating qualities on the palate. Whats left - all manner of ashes, bitter charred wood, scorched oil. It probably sounds quite disgusting and if i had all those things residing in my mouth id think so too - but that is the magic of whisky, sensory magic.
C: Sensational on all levels. Finally a note about abv. When a whisky like this is firing on all cylinders, theres no burn out. Happy days, at least it would be if i had a €479 [Oct ’14] floating around for a full bottle.
Scores an A+