Port Ellen 1982 26 Years Old (Old Bothwell)
Monday featured an old and rare Millburn. Wednesday saw a review of a Bunnahabhain from the 60’s. And now we’ll move on to a Port Ellen 1982 from Old Bothwell, because of its reputation one of the most electrifying names in single malt Scotch whisky.
Whether that is fair, is a debate for another time. The fact is that Port Ellen is rare, old and comes from a closed distillery. And not just any closed distillery, because Port Ellen has become wildly famous and celebrated through first the Rare Malts Selection, and now the Special Releases from Diageo.
It used to be that independent bottlers had a nice amount of stock of Port Ellen too, one of them being Old Bothwell. They bottled over thirty casks of Port Ellen from 2006 to 2013 (and not much else by the way). One of those whiskies found their way to me via a sample.
This is from cask 2545, which is supposedly and ex-sherry cask, although the only mention of casktype on the label says ‘oak’. Well, duh. Might as well not put anything on the label then.
Port Ellen 1982 26 Years Old (56,4%, Old Bothwell, C#2545)
Nose: Clean and crisp with plenty of brine and a nice amount of peat, which never gets in the way of the other aromas, such as lemon, orange and pineapple, but also some aniseed. Lots of minerals too. Gets sweeter with time, now with some marzipan.
Taste: A lovely malty and sugary sweetness upon first sip, followed by burnt oranges, bitter grapefruit and tinned pineapple. It has a lovely creamy, thick mouthfeel. Swallow it and the peat shines, as well as some fairly intense cracked black pepper and a slight medicinal note. Minerals again (wet rock).
Finish: Very long and enjoyable.
Great balance between the peat and the brine on the one hand, and the sweetness and fruits on the other. This worked out superbly.
I must say I had great fun reviewing the wonderful old and rare whiskies this week. Should we do it again next week? Or maybe the entire month of January? I think I know what I’ll do 🙂
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.