Port Ellen 20 1978 [Feather’s Flight Review Set #17]

port ellen 20.jpg

Hey, it’s that whisky people wait for when it go to The Feathers Pub. Because it’s an Islay and you always finish with an Islay.


So this is pretty standard, as everyone can attest. You know, you go out, have a couple drams, finish up with a Port Ellen.

Specifically Port Ellen 20 1978. You know, that standard sipper that we all have. I’m sure everyone will be posting that they are sick of all of these Rare Malts posts and they are about done with it all.


Now that I’m done being sarcastic, let’s get excited. It’s a Port Ellen. Legendary bottling. One that I haven’t gotten my ugly little mitts on (so ugly).

I’m pretty sure I could run a tasting with just this and everyone would be happy. They are old, peated whiskies.

I mean, they ALL aren’t amazing. This could be different.

Sorry, I said I’d stop with the bullshit sarcasm. Let’s get on with the dram.

Price: N/A

Region: Islay

Vintage: 1978

Abv: 60.9%

Colour: 5Y 9/6

Nose: Rubber, smoked pork chops, salted caramel, arugula, blueberry, burnt toffee, habanero beef, lemon loaf

Big flavours. Lots of meat, fruit, sweet, heat… Just the whole damn kitchen sink, but not in a “did I just smell chocolate tree dipped in tar?” more like complimentary flavours on each level.

More blueberry than I was expecting. The heat isn’t off putting, but it does surprise you, and may turn off some. Including my cousin who mid-sentence smelled this and had a coughing fit.

Taste: BBQ chips, dark honey, nectarine, being in a honey house, roasted pineapple, cocoa oil

Doesn’t let up in the taste. Lots of BBQ flavours, big dark honey flavours. Actually a ton of honey. A honey house of honey. Sets off memories, right off the bat. Big cocoa flavours too. Cocoa oil is a thing, right?

If so, my wife may go into politics and then invade other countries that have it.

Finish: Molasses on bread, cocoa truffles, lemon pepper shrimp, cinnamon, espresso, almond noughat

Finish was lighter than I expected. Not super light, but the truffle flavour is the main element. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, and I certainly would be the last person to complain about cocoa/chocolate… but it’s a little bit of a miss.

Oh, and the shrimp note was odd. Not bad odd, just… really odd.

Conclusion: It was okay.

No, it wasn’t just okay. It was a pretty amazing dram. Tons of earthy-sweet notes, lots of cocoa, a truckload of honey on the taste, and while odd and maybe unbalanced, the finish was super long and tasty.

I was tasting the finish until I fell asleep. If other drams have a peat barrier, this has a peat wall like the one in Game of Thrones.

Everything about this is good. It’s not as crazy as some I’ve had. There are more complex. But who cares. This is good. It’s a definite taste, pure and simple.


Scotch review #557, Islay review #127, Whisky Network review #916

2 thoughts on “Port Ellen 20 1978 [Feather’s Flight Review Set #17]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s