Port Ellen, 1978-1998, Rare Malts, 60.9%

As a bonus and since you have to go out on a bang Jon also poured me a dram of one of the many Port Ellens that he has in his collection. For some reason he decided to start collecting this now overpriced and not too reliable whisky, probably when it was still fairly okay to buy a bottle. By his collection I guess it would have to be for quite a while that he has been at it.

A few Port Ellens

A few Port Ellens

Anyway, as if the Brora 1978 wasn’t enough, he wanted to top it with a Port Ellen and I am not one to complain (not too often that is). He poured me a Rare Malt from 1978. Released in 1998 makes it 20 years old in this case. Still at a whopping 60.9% ABV, which makes me guess this was casked at a higher percentage than the regular 63.5. Or else it must have been the best oak tree ever felled.

Port Ellen 1978-1998 from the Rare Malts Selection

Port Ellen 1978-1998 from the Rare Malts Selection

Surprisingly gentle on the nose, with scents of the beach on Islay. Salt, sand, some seaweed. Some smoked fish (re: smoke and salt), medicinal with iodine. It gets more smoky as I let it breathe for a few minutes. Heather and sand but very clean.

The palate makes up in sharpness for the gentleness on the nose. Flaming. Dry and oaky with smoke, vanilla, and sugary sweetness.

The finish has a sudden burst of black and white pepper. It’s full with vanilla and orchard fruits. Apple and sweet grapes.

While I’m missing the leather and lemon scents that usually go with classic Port Ellens, this one is a stunning dram on it’s own. There are many surprises and it takes a different turn at every step of tasting it. Even so, it doesn’t feel inconsistent at all.

An absolutely fabulous dram and a very, very kick-ass Port Ellen. Again, I should have started drinking high end whisky earlier!

Port Ellen, 1978-1998, Rare Malts, 60.9%, available at € 660 at Whisky Antique in Italy.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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