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1978 Port Ellen 14th Release 35 Year Old Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 56.5%
Established on Islay's south coast in 1825 by A K Mackay and Co, Port Ellen closed its doors for the last time in the slump of 1983, but the whisky made in the 17 or so years between its re-opening in 1967 and final closure has acquired a reputation as some of the finest to have been made on Islay in that time. Following two outstandingly successful Rare Malt bottlings in 1998 and 2000, Diageo has released an official bottling of Port Ellen every year since 2001, although it is presently unknown how many more of these bottlings will be forthcoming as stocks get lower. Always highly sought after, this edition is limited to just under 3000 bottles world wide.Tasting note: Deep gold, polished brass. Initially peppery and malty; second pass reveals a peat-driven aspect with a fine tuned balance between freshness and smoke; think dried citrus peel and tobacco plus hints of iodine. Later inhalations seem to deepen and richen with the accent towards fruit cake before vanilla malt comes to the fore and the peat retreats. Delicious, salivating, fruity-yet-dry delivery includes choc-fudge laced peat, hemp, salt and pepper followed by lanolin, salt and juicy fruitiness to finish. Outstanding balance and length. Concludes as it began, maintaining the malt, oak and smoke in a controlled tension. 56.5% Alc./Vol. Other reviews... Scarcity and the secondary market have driven prices up, so either buddy-up to a rich guy, or club together to try this. Greater levels of cask interaction have added an extra dimension to a whisky that is often skeletal. The smoke’s in the background, as salted cashew, peppermint, tansy, furniture polish, and smoked meats take center stage. The palate is slowly expanding and smoked, with some chocolate and wax. Finally, a Port Ellen that is truly, classically mature. A killer.
93 points - www.maltadvocate.com, Reviewed by: Dave Broom (Winter 2014) The latest Port Ellen from Diageo’s Special Releases programme was distilled in 1978 and matured in re-fill American oak and European oak casks. The out-turn is 2,964 bottles. The nose offers coal tar, damp fabric Elastoplast, citrus fruit, sultanas and warm leather. Voluptuous in the mouth, with sweet fruity notes – pineapple and banana – wrapped in peat smoke and ginger, while brine and plain chocolate arrive in time. Long in the finish, with oaky spices and smoky fruit. 56.5% ABV 4 Stars