Sometimes you realize you have some rather interesting tasting notes lying around. Stuff you tried but for some reason haven’t written about yet. By ‘you’ I mean me, because I realize most people do not write whisky blogs, although it might seem otherwise, nowadays.
This Port Ellen was part of Fiddlers’ Advent Calendar last year, which means I tried it early in this year, which means it’s been sitting in my tasting-note-stash for a couple months now.
I can start writing about how Port Ellen is a closed distillery that’s about to be reopened. That the late seventies are the best vintages of said closed distillery (that are at least somewhat reachable, before someone starts on that 1968 stuff that’s supposedly the best thing to ever come from any distillery). I guess I won’t, and will just get to the tasting notes.
A gentle whiff of peat over an intense whisky. Marram grass, shammy leather. Straw, sand. Surprisingly, it’s not very coastal on the nose. It becomes more smoky with some time in the glass, and more briny too. Somehow, stale lemon-drizzle cake.
Rather dry and with some white pepper bite. A hint of vanilla over briny flavors. Dry grist, stale lemon-drizzle cake. Marram grass, shammy leather. Smoke, ashes, soot.
Quite hot on the finish, but in a good way. It makes you notice what you’re having. White pepper, smoke, brine, charcoal. Again, the marram grass, grist, straw. Long.
This, dear reader, is awesome. It’s one of those Islay whiskies where the peat is unmistakably present, but already gives some space to other flavors. By a bit of maturation this is a rather complex whisky, but by being not too old it’s also still quite feisty and ‘in-your-face’. An absolute belter.
At the time of writing it’s available in the Whiskybase Marketplace for € 799