When I was given this wee sample I was baffled. A friend came up to me at Maltstock and told me to try it. A 10 year old Port Ellen! That’s at least a 20 year old bottle, and then of a distillery that has people paying hundreds of euros for a bottle… I didn’t really know what to say.
I did know what to do, however: Taste it! I was a bit apprehensive at first since, while Port Ellen is one of the most expensive distilleries to buy whisky of, they are not necessarily all great. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a bad Port Ellen, but I did taste some very uninteresting ones.
I don’t know much about the Scottish Wildlife series, but I know Signatory has vast stocks of everything at the moment, so maybe this is a cracker. I know there’s an otter on the label, which is nice.
At Maltstock 2012 Jon Beach had everyone sniff lemon candy and chamois/shammy/wash leather, since that makes up Port Ellen, according to him. I guess he has to love this one then, since those two flavours are huge. The lemon candy are those Napoleon balls, with powder inside them. The peat is pretty light, especially for a 10 year old. Apart from those flavours I get shoe polish too.
It’s a bit sweeter than I expected with lots of simply syrup. It has a bit more bite, on the other hand. Again, lots of lemon but with the sweetness I veer towards lemon curd. It takes a bit longer for the wash leather and shoe polish to pop up, but they’re definetly here!
The finish is gentle but intense. A lot more peat flavours at this point, but apart from that I get the wash leather and lemon candy again. Shoe polish, white oak, grain dust.
While this is not the most complex Port Ellen I’ve ever tried, it certainly is a delicious whisky. The wash leather and lemon candy make this a very iconic one in my book. A showcase for the distillery.
Port Ellen 10, 43%, 1983-1993, Signatory’s Scottish Wildlife. Worth about € 265 now.
Thanks for the sample, Martin! I loved it!