Each year I am brought out to The Feathers Pub, Toronto for my birthday. Some years multiple times. This year, just once, and that’s okay by me. Too much of a good thing and that.
Finishing up with a Port Ellen. Because… duh.
Port Ellen is another one of those distilleries that is opening up again. And it makes us wonder, what Port Ellen will we receive? How many of the stills, and practices, and all that, will be preserved?
And what will young Port Ellen taste like? Will it need to be cask strength, or older, or finished? We don’t know.
However we are lucky enough (well, some of us) to still have some earlier editions to still try. To get into our heads (through out mouths, preferably) before new ones pop up.
Thus I’ll be reviewing one of these, Port Ellen 24 1978. After the success of the Rare Malts Selection, Diageo decided to bring out limited releases each year from the warehouses.
Port Ellen 24 1978 was the second of such releases. So let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: No longer available
Number of Bottles: 12,000
Bottle No: 2295
Colour: 10Y 9/8
Nose: BBQ pit with lots of meat on it, brine, lime sorbet, straw, burnt rubber
Initial blast of complexity. This is where legends begin, pure and simple. The nose is strong, so strong people at other tables are wondering if the back room just left the smoker open.
There is no smoker in that back room.
Lots of wonderful brine and light citrus, straw, and burnt rubber. This is quite a joy to nose.
Taste: Molasses baked beans, lime cordial, creme caramel, cinnamon cream
I enjoy baked beans. A bit too much. Not making a disgusting joke, more of a “I shouldn’t order sugar filled side dishes that also have chunks of pork fat sometimes” all the time reference. This has that flavour.
I am happy. More cream, more caramel with rich notes, and more spice.
Finish: Cereal, caramel, fallen leaves, chocolate, smoky tobacco
Finish loses it’s acidity, and has that vegetal/dry note on it. Lots of smoke, I think, as opposed to other Port Ellens I’ve had, the finish doesn’t live up to the rest.
Conclusion: An interesting dram with a great nose and wonderful taste. At the end of the day though, the finish isn’t quite up to par of other Port Ellens or similar older peated malts.
Don’t get me wrong: The nose along is legend worthy. And the taste is tasty, fun, and relaxing. The finish is still great. Is it legendary? Not really. However this was just their second try, so 2/3 ain’t bad.
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