Category Archives: Port Ellen

Provenance Port Ellen 23 Year

Ah the much adored but extinct Port Ellen.  The mythical whisky that many Islay lovers dream about having a well stocked cabinet of.  Unfortunately we are jolted awake by the big ticket price tags that always accompany PE bottles.  Several months ago our whisky tasting group was lucky enough to pull together a large enough crowd to pick up this PE for one of our events – and we were glad we did!

Port Ellen

Color – Dark copper

Nose – Oh beautiful peat and smoke – but not overwhelming, dirty motor oil, rutty, a dark old cigar club with leather couches, seaweed, cinnamon rolls, a lot of things going on here.

Palate – Peat is nicely integrated and not over powering, damp furniture, varnish, nutty, touch of bitterness, tobacco leaves and oak

Finish – Holds well with some peat and old wood.

Comments: I wanted to sip on a little more to see if I could pick anything else up and the glass was empty. Man this is good stuff. Why does PE have to taste so good? This is a dark more brooding PE that is on the other end of the spectrum from the Scott’s Selection PE I tried earlier.

1 Comment

Filed under Port Ellen, Whisky Impressions

Some Quick Notes on Tasting the Chieftain’s Lineup

Chieftains is another IB, however it was not widely available in the US until a couple of months ago.  So when I learned that K and L Wines was hosting a tasting for some of the US lineup, I signed up immediately.  The event was limited to 35 people and filled up quickly.  It was a little bit of a trek to make the tasting: Martin’s West in Redwood City, but I was betting it was going to be worth it.

The lineup was quite extensive, covering varying regions and flavor profiles:  Allt A Bhainne 31, Dalmore 11, Glencadam 22, Glenrothes 14, Longmorn 13, Linkwood 16, and the great Port Ellen 25.

Allt A Bhainne is a fairly obscure distillery and not many people know about it.  It is located in the Speyside region and is used primarily for Chivas Regal blends.  So it is very rare to get the opportunity to try a single malt Allt A Bhainne.  This malt was surprisingly lively for its age – full bodied, butter, grassy with a slight hint of smoke which was also a surprise.

Dalmore is a distillery that we are a lot more familiar with.  It is located in the Highland region of Scotland and generally has deep-sweet flavors.  This malt was enhanced in a Madeira cask.  I found the Dalmore to be rather underwhelming unfortunately.  There was some tropical fruit sweetness, caramel, you can taste the wine influence but it faded rather quickly.

Glencadam is another Highland malt but it does not release many single malts.  The Glencadam was viscous and chewy with lots of malt.  There was some licorice and grain notes with some fruit underneath it all – a decent dram.

Glenrothes is a very well known distillery out of the Speyside region.  This Glenrothes was finished in a Burgundy cask to add some wine flavors.  The distinctive dark red fruits and sweetness immediately came to the forefront.  The wood was definitely present as well.

Linkwood, like Glenrothes, resides in the Speyside region of Scotland.  However, you probably won’t find a bottle of Linkwood at your local bar.  My first thought was WOW! Big fruit, malt and green apples.  I also found flowers and some heather in the palate.  I really enjoyed this malt, it tasted almost like a Lowland malt to me.  A big surprise.

Longmorn is a neighbor of Linkwood in Speyside.  This malt had baked bread, oak and grain with a slight hint of smoke.  Unfortunately, it faded really fast and I didn’t find it all that interesting.

Finally, I was able to taste the Port Ellen.  For those that don’t know, Port Ellen is one of the most sought after malts out there.  Port Ellen, located in the Islay regions, was demolished in 1982 making whatever was left aging in barrels at that time the last whisky to ever be produced from this distillery.  Unfortunately, the price point for Port Ellen’s is extremely high and keeps increasing as the years go by and the stocks of the whisky dwindle.  This Port Ellen was a nicely balanced malt.  A perfect balance of peat, coastal brine, seaweed, smoke and ashes.

Over all the Chieftain’s line up is solid but to be honest I was expecting a little more.  I really enjoyed the Linkwood and the Port Ellen.  The others weren’t bad but they didn’t stand out for me.  It is nice to see another IB enter into the US market.  I am hoping that Chieftains line will flourish and continue to grow so that we can all experience different and unique flavors from more great distilleries.


Filed under Allt A Bhainne, Dalmore, Glencadam, Imbibed Musings, Linkwood, Longmorn, Port Ellen, Whisky Impressions

Scott’s Selection 1982 Port Ellen 21 Year Old Review

Well here I find myself with another extinct distillery – Port Ellen.   The legend of Port Ellen is quite large and there is a wealth of information about it in the whisky blogosphere.  I really wouldn’t have much to add to it.  So following the path of least resistance I won’t even try.

Independent bottler Scott’s Selection  bottling of Port Ellen.  Distilled in 1982 and bottled in 2003.  Bottled at cask strength 56.4%ABV.

Port Ellen

Color – Light gold

Nose  – Peat, light smoke, BBQ’d oysters, apple cider, coastal brine and seaweed.

Palate – Oak, clean, surprisingly sweet at the front, then the peat and smoke starts to come out but not overly dominant, hints of citrus, mouth coating, the cask strength works well.

Finish – numbing with a nice malty sweetness on the way out with the peat smoke and ashes  nicely framed in the background.

With H2O

Nose – Opens up the oak and malt even more.

Palate – Really takes the alcohol edge off and rounds it out, licorice, oak is more dominant, but where did the peat and smoke go?

I really enjoyed this PE.  It is more on the clean, straight forward peat and smoke side of things.  Instead of the leather and tobacco flavor profile that I have tasted in PE before.  I do prefer it neat though as I was really surprised how much the peat and smoke was muted with the water.


Filed under Port Ellen, Whisky Impressions