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Pe2 Elements of Islay

Average score from 3 reviews and 3 ratings 90

Pe2 Elements of Islay

Product details

  • Brand: Port Ellen
  • Bottler: Speciality Drinks Ltd
  • Series: Elements of Islay
  • ABV: 59.5%

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Pe2 Elements of Islay

The second Port Ellen from the Elements of Islay-range – the so called PE2 – is as rare as the first. It sold out in less than 24 hours. If you want to get hands on this, be prepared to break the piggy bank! I tried it H2H with the PE1. This one is a tad darker than the first one.

This one too has a heavy nose, but is a lot softer than PE1. More accessible. Again bitter chocolate and smoked ham, but sweeter. Not fruitier, though. Does that make sense? Heavily sherried, sure, but more like (for lack of a better word) sherry. Roasted nuts and marzipan (well, that would mean almonds, which are nuts as well, errr…). But this one has a lot more rubber. Tyre of a bicycle, struck matches, ashtray, that sort of thing. Worcestershire sauce! It’s has to be your cup of tea. It is mine. Adding water does change the profile a bit. Less sweet, more meat. And more bicycle tyre.

Hmmmm, it’s very creamy on the palate. The peat is master, but the sweet does prevail in this case. Blood oranges – skin and all – lime, grapefruit (well, citrus, you get the picture) and cocoa. Roasted nuts return. The whole is very peppery and surrounded by smoke. Good stuff. Adding water brings out the sulphury notes.

The finish is sweet and sour on Worcestershire sauce (can you say that three times in a row?), pepper and licquorice.

They are obviously in the same league. The nose on PE1 is simply unparalleled (and even that is an understatement), but on palate, I preferred PE2. Softer, more accessible and less in your face with the peat. It’s all a matter of tastes, of course.


Port Ellen PE1 was talk of the town in 2009. It was highly sought after with exceptional prices in auctions. Its successor, Port Ellen PE2, was sold out in just around 24 hours, but the hype seemed a bit smaller afterwards.

Nose: starts on very dark chocolate and gunpowder. Notes of burnt wood that seem less strong in PE1. There’s a sherried sweetness in the background, but it’s not extremely fruity (no apples or raspberry like in PE1). Instead there’s an organic / slightly dirty / damp side to it that I find a bit difficult to appreciate. Aged meat. A rather dominant smell of a tyre shop. Some tobacco and liquorice. Quite “dark” overall – PE1 seems fresher and more vibrant. Water highlights the sulphury matchsticks and mustiness.

Mouth: intense with coal smoke, soot and tar. The peat is nicely countered by cocoa sweetness and spices but again the fruitiness is buried deep inside. Chili and ginger. Grows drier and spicier over time, with added notes of liquorice. Water doesn’t add much, it just gets less powerful.

Finish: medium length, rather sweet with hints of pepper and savoury meat sauce.

Sometimes it’s a fine line… when tasting PE2 on its own, it seemed very similar to PE1, although I couldn’t put my finger on the differences. After a direct comparison, it’s clear that the successor is sweeter yet less fruity, with a slightly bigger focus on sulphury notes and rubber


The original Pe1, has gotten quite a reputation, and the follow up release has been highly anticipated, now with the release of the Pe2, selling out in just around 24 hours, does it live up to the hype?

Nose: A light sherry sweetness, coupled with chocolate notes, good amounts of light wood smoke. It’s got a definite dirty earthiness to it. Quite dry and very easy to nose despite the 59.5 ABV. After a while It gets much clearer and looses this earthy cloudiness, just to reveal a classic sherry character, with perhaps faint hints of fruity freshness behind it all, namely orange peal.

Mouth: Medium richness, coats the mouth nicely, without being a thick gloopy sherry bomb. More or less what you’d expect and hope. Ferocious, but still quite manageable. Other Port Ellens I’ve tried have a tendency to explode on the palate leaving you confused and at a maximum peat level. Not this one though. A nice sherry sweetness, followed by a good amount of dried peat and smoke, a good amount of spices as well, quite peppery, especially towards the end. Keeps growing more and more spicy.

Finish: Burnt wood, tar and a nice peppery finish, the most smoky it’ll get. Finish is quite long a pleasant – not really pallet drying though as is typical with sherry casks. Strong clean finish though.

Comments: What a nice Port Ellen, I’ve always been a bit sceptical about Port Ellens, because I’ve never really though I’ve had one that was worth the high price tags they command, but this is just a really nice whisky. Highly recommended.


Can you explain the differences with Pe1?

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