Its raining like crazy outside, and I have this Port Ellen on my lectern, so probably no better moment to have a go at this. Seize the day, the moment is now! There may be no tomorrow! Heed the call of the elements!
Douglas Laing sure did have a lot of Port Ellen ex-sherry casks lying around, and a lot of those casks were from 1982. Even though it wasn’t the best of years for Port Ellen (it closed just a year later), a lot of those 1982 casks turn out to be pretty fabulous. I bought this particular bottle because of the word “creosoted” on the label. I definitively want to find out what that tastes like.
Color: White Wine.
Nose: Wow, always a great peat smell, Sweet and succulent, oily, old puffer, kippers and tar. Citrussy and grassy too. Powdery? This really smells like it’s dived up from the bottom of the sea. Even if this turns out not to be the greatest Port Ellen, this nose is all worth it. Dirty and clean at the same time. Ergo very balanced! Smelling this is great but it’s also intriguing. There is more lying around the bend. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is more to it than meets the nose…
Taste: Sweet and rubbery. Ash, liquorice and tarry rope (is this the creosote?). Definitively a fishy note from the peat, what suites this whisky well. Coffee, mocha, very appetizing. For a dead distillery, and a 25yo whisky, this is very lively. Candy with pepper in the finish and some slight bitterness (with tar), from the oak, but it has to be that way.
You might say it’s not up to par to other Port Ellen’s, since you could consider this not to be the most complex example or it’s drinkability and (virtual) lightness. But I’m having a lot of fun with this one, its lively and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. I’m pouring myself another dram of this.