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Port Ellen 14 Year Old 1983 Signatory Vintage

Typical: Absolutely Atypical

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@markjedi1Review by @markjedi1

8th Jan 2019


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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In December I tried a Port Ellen for the first time in years. No surprise as it does not cross my path that often and I am not willing to give up my left arm for a bottle. This cult whisky is now so expensive. But it really reignited my interest, so I bought me a couple of samples and enjoyed them over the weekend. Let me start with this golden oldie that is nowhere to be found anymore. It was bottled over twenty years ago by Signatory? What a pale fellow indeed, distilled in the last months of this legendary distillery’s life.

Surprisingly sweet nose on all kinds of white fruit and even some kiwi. I did not see this coming. Also surprisingly waxy reminding me somewhat of Clynelish. Bittersweet on almonds, but with a whiff of diesel. Absolutely atypical, but so much fun!

The arrival is oily, but lacks some punch. Having said that, the taste is textbook Port Ellen. Citrus and white fruit, flints, vanilla versus seaweeds. Salt & pepper. But this must have been a refill cask, fort his is clearly spirit driven, something that I can only be joyous about.

The finish is medium long, mildly smoky and honey-sweet. Atypical yet typical Port Ellen (wait, what?), matured on tired wood I’d say, but that just makes it so beautiful. My only complaint – if that is the right word – is the ABV. But in those days, cask strength was not yet the thing it is today.

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