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1983 Single Malts of Scotland Port Ellen 27 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 46%
The ‘Speciality Drinks’ Co. has been steadily acquiring top quality casks of maturing single malt whisky, and since 2005 they’ve been releasing these whiskies under ‘The Single Malts of Scotland’ label. Each is bottled as a single cask or as part of a small batch either at cask strength or 46% and to ensure each Whisky maintains its original flavour and cask character, they’re not chill-filtered and have no colour added. While differing from official distillers’ bottlings, several of the company’s astute selections have won awards and are receiving critical acclaim from the world’s leading whisky experts.
Established on Islay's south coast in 1825 by A K Mackay and Co., Port Ellen was closed in the slump of 1983, but the whisky made in the 17 or so years between its re-opening 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. There have also been myriad independent bottlings, particularly from Douglas Laing and this one from Signatory. Prices for Port Ellen have increased steadily over the last decade as the reputation of the distillery grows and supplies dwindle.
The whiskey is a versatile malt, though with considerable differences of style evident between different bottlings. Some sherry-casked Port Ellen can be beautifully rich, spicy, sweet and leathery; bourbon and refill casks often show a more austere, peppery medium-weighted style. Common characteristics, though, are a high level of peatiness and, in the best examples, a phenomenal complexity which Islay fans adore. For these reasons Port Ellen has become one of the most sought-after of the lost distilleries by collectors, investors and aficionados.
Tasting note: Pale gold colour. Individual aromas are difficult to distinguish but this goes beyond an obvious wet wool / smoked trout peatiness with suggestions of sweet compost, fruit and honey. After five minutes aeration it becomes more definitely dried grass and tobacco like. The palate is astonishingly vibrant given this whisky's age; Concentrated flavours combine a sweet grassiness with soft peat, citrus peel and a late spicy flourish. Excellent length. Slightly oily mouthfeel. Concludes semi sweet, with a subtle choc-fudge aftertaste. Texturally distinctive and perfectly poised with outstanding persistence, this is one of the better Port Ellen’s still on the market that we’ve been fortunate enough to taste. This release is limited to 526 bottles. 46% Alc./Vol.
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