Review number 2 of Feathers Pub, and I was asked to make it a doozy. So it’s time to skip dessert, we’re going in.
Yup, reviewing an Islay. A mothballed one at that. My highest reviewed distillery at that. A dram that most of us won’t ever have, because the rest of us have other hobbies or other things like children or families to invest in.
You’re welcome, in other words.
Port Ellen 1978 22 is the cask strength, balls out but still coloured old ass offering from our friends and enemies at Diageo. It was released around the time we were all realizing that Y2K wasn’t a thing at all, and I want to say it’s the third release, but honestly can’t back that up worth a damn.
Port Ellen, for those of you new to this fun little game, used to be a distillery on Islay. It was closed in 1983, for fear that a child born at the end of the year before would be their downfall.
I was so close. Damn oracles warning them of impending doom. Foiled again. Except not with real foil. What the fuck am I going to do with this lightning scar anyway?
Oh well. I get some now. Let’s dive into this, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 5Y 9/8
Nose: Buttered popcorn, lemon pepper salmon, anise, dandelion, rosemary rabbit, ash, currant
Salty, complex, buttery, and… fish? Yeah, fish. I smell fish. Damn. Others smelled fish too. None of us had fish for dinner. Everyone cleared off their meal and made sure to drink water. Still… fish.
And this wasn’t tasted beside the sea or after lots of drinks or we aren’t fish and no one in the room had a stinky vag.
There. That should calm the critics for about 3 seconds. Let’s bask in that time.
Really, really earthy, salty, and super nice nose. Lots of interesting, even gamey, notes.
Taste: Cigar, asparagus, buttered fresh bread, black tea, honey ice tea, brine
I’m not the biggest tobacco fan. I think for each time I say that, let’s take a shot. Read all my reviews and you’ll get drunk. Better than the usual reason: Crippling Depression slinking in!
I realize I wrote tea twice. I meant the taste of black tea. That dank, deep flavour that is sometimes smokey. But then there was this other tea flavour. That tannic tea mixed with honey flavour. Also some brine, which just helps the whole thing.
Finish: Strawberry pie, sambuca, peach skin, cocoa bisquits, lemon Halls, lemongrass
A more mentholated end than I’d normally want. It went over that line. That “hey, this is getting kinda strong” line, you know? Pretty strong. I enjoyed it, and it was long, just the balance was very much “You don’t have a cough anymore mother fucker!”, you know?
I’m rambling, I get it.
Conclusion: Seriously, what do you think? It’s a super tasty dram. It doesn’t hit what some of the older ones does, but that’s not a slight, that’s just a sign of hardcore competition. This tastes like a dark, strong, old, complex brine and peat storm. Any simple smoke has slipped the earthly bonds that normally overpower and created a briney taste orgasm.
It’s unique. It’s tasty. It doesn’t quite set off memories, but it’s certainly complex. No simple flavours, and it’s honestly a huge shame that more people can’t try more drams like this.
Scotch review #490, Islay review #104, Whisky network review #795