[May, 2017] I had this dram during the Jim McEwan tasting at the village hall of Ballygrant during the Feis Ile.
The colour is old gold and the texture shows fast thick legs and late fat tears. The nose is a little punchy first but then offers a vanilla-toffee and spicy profile with some OBFs (nail varnish remover) and nice wooden notes. The mouthfeel is creamy and coating - very charming with no distracting moments. The taste is sweet on heather-honey and floral flavours with the typical slightly metallic (dry) feeling (I like that!). Some spices can be found too (peppers, nutmeg). The finish is long and layered on toffee and spices again, but a little bitter (tannins) and drying (metallic).
A really delicious dram to sip but the price is just ridiculous. As a drinker I would not pay more than 200 Euro for such a bottle...
Thick candle wax, menthol, dried rosemary. New leather and citrus peel. Quite maritime in a minerally way - think chalky clifftops on a windy day. With water becomes more citrusy and a little soapy, like washing up liquid (but in a good way).
Lemon throat sweets, brown sugar, sour cherries and gentle wood smoke.
Tingly, ashy and long. Creamy oak and a touch of vanilla.
Frankly, I was a little concerned that this had spent 34 years in sherry. For my palate, that can really spoil a good whisky. Luckily, my fears are unfounded - this must've been a good quality refill cask and at the incredibly high ABV it must've had a remarkably slow and careful maturation over those years.
All in all, this is a really elegant and well-rounded whisky - classy, complex, and delivering all that coastal/citrus goodness you'd hope to get from a Port Ellen.
Port Ellen 34 yo 1982/2017 (61.7%, Hunter Laing, The Kinship, bourbon cask, 545 bottles) Five stars This baby from Hunter Laing’s new series that celebrates the beginning of the works at their new distillery on Islay, Ardnahoe. There’re also a Caol Ila, an Ardbeg, a Bowmore, a Bunnahabhain and a Laphroaig. We’ll try those as well, but I thought starting with the PE would carry more panache (any excuses, really). Oh and if they came up with 545 bottles from bourbon wood, it must be a small vatting rather than a single cask. Colour: pale gold. Nose: fruits rather than tar! That’s not unusual with the 1982s, they were often relatively light for PE, while most 1983s got fatter and tarrier again. Now don’t get me wrong, this still has more tar and plasticine than 99% of all other Scottish malts. Great notes of kelp, new floated wood, and perhaps mustard. With water: oh wet dogs (we owe you bags of croquettes, dogs) and muddy waters on Islay. Mouth (neat): totally tireless PE. This baby’s perfectly fresh, even youthful, showcasing an exceptional combination of sultanas (really), dried dates (really), seawater, tar liqueur, rhubarb juice, and massive amounts of green salted liquorice. These casks will never die, they could keep them until the year 2100. With water: careful, don’t drown it. What’s striking again is the fruitiness, you’ve got blood oranges coming out, guavas, pomegranates, cranberries… It’s possible that what happens with old Laphroaig after 25 years is happening with old PE after 35 years. Peat smoke’s transmutation, you know… Finish: long, still fruity and fresh. Granted, this is not Tomatin, but seriously, it’s, well, very fruity. And that’s lovely. Comments: extraordinary whisky, both when neat and when reduced, you can’t make much better on this little planet. Now I’m sure it’s very expensive – haven’t checked the price though. In the thousands, I guess. SGP:656 - 94 points.