Port Ellen 1978 14th Release 35 Years Old Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky

$5,500 AUD


70 cl

This Port Ellen 14th Annual Release was distilled in 1978 and matured for 35 years until it was bottled in 2013. This whisky was bottled at a cask strength of 56.5% and limited to 2964 bottles. We have here bottle number 1048.

This release is one of the most positively reviewed Port Ellen’s as the tasting notes from three highly respected sources reveal!

Tasting Notes

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 enrich 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 (Nick’s Wines)

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 centre 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)

Let’s try to forget about the heavy price tag and focus on the juice! After all, should you test-drive a new Ferrari, you’ll focus on the engine and the chassis (and the brakes!) more than on its price, won’t you. But is this a Ferrari or is it a badged FIAT? Let’s see… (apologies, I’m known for my very crappy car analogies, but I just can’t help.) Colour: gold. Nose: it’s quite brutal! At this pace, they’ll still have ‘young’ PE by 2050, unless the stocks are almost depleted indeed (which they are since around 2000 anyway, ha!) After that initial burst of alcohol and creosote, many smaller elements are falling into place, one after the other. Turpentine, eucalyptus, tincture of iodine, seaweed, almond oil, pink grapefruits, tobacco smoke, chartreuse, coal, walnuts and apples… But rather less tar than expected. With water: some very nice notes of white wine (sour) and brine, humus, fir smoke, damp wool, garden bonfire… Mouth: triple bang! It’s huge, it’s massive, it’s sharp at the same time, and it’s almost… young. Quite some smoke, a little fish oil, grapefruits and lemons, smoked tea, liquorice, kippers, green tea. A lot of lemon zest, with something rather green, pungent, tannic… Grape pips? Cider apples? Not an easy baby for sure, but it’s not a peat monster. With water: the greenness is even more obvious. Liquorice wood, grass, green apples, kippers, maybe a wee touch of chlorine (nope, I’m using my usual Vittel), grapefruits, a little salt… And bags of apple peelings. Finish: long, rather on cider apples, smoked fish… The greenness remains. I have to add I’m finding little tar in the aftertaste, just a little – better late than never! Comments: we’re very close to last year’s release, as far as I can tell, this one being maybe just a notch rougher. On the other hand, it’s a very moderately tarry PE that’s probably less ‘immediate’ than earlier versions. Oh, and quality remains very high, of course… 91 points - Serge Valentin, whiskyfun.com

This product is located in Australia.


Port Ellen Distillery

The recent announcement by Diageo of their intention to bring Port Ellen, like Brora, back into production can only enhance the value of surviving bottlings of the original Port Ellen and perhaps even more so once the new expressions are eventually made available, which will be some years hence.

 Port Ellen played a very significant role in the development of the Scotch whisky industry and much of the credit for that goes to John Ramsay who purchased the distillery in 1836 from the original owners who had built it in 1825 based on a converted malt mill. Amongst other things, Ramsay pioneered the export of Scotch whisky to the United States and did so directly from Port Ellen. The spirit safe was first introduced at Port Ellen and Ramsay pioneered the adoption of duty-free bonded warehousing and even had research work done on the use of the patent still for the production of grain whisky. The distillery remained with the Ramsay family until 1920 when it was acquired jointly by James Buchanan and Company and John Dewar and Sons Ltd, both of which merged with DCL in 1925. Inexplicably, Port Ellen then went silent from 1929 until 1966 when major renovation and expansion took place. This included in 1973 new drum maltings, which were erected alongside the distillery, initially to supply malt for DCL’s three Islay operations, i.e. Caol Ila, Lagavulin, and Port Ellen. The latter was closed, however, in 1983 never to re-open.

 Up until then Port Ellen had been used exclusively in blending but a number of casks from the 10,000, which were present when I made my visit in 1985, were released to independent merchants.  As a result, an array of Port Ellen expressions has appeared over the years and an occasional official bottling, particularly in the Rare Malts and Special Release series.