In 2009 the Belgian importer The Nectar bottled this Port Ellen. Only 193 bottles were available and obviously those are all gone. Thanks to a Dutch friend, I was able to secure a sample.
Oh, lovely nose on sweet and sour fruit (think mandarin, cider apples and lime) with a soft touch of vanilla and clear hints of pine cones. Once you get past that, you’ll discover lovely maritime notes of sea weeds and oyster sap. But it’s the fruitiness that gives this Port Ellen an extra dimension. Think baked banana, Granny Smith apples, pineapple on the barbecue and even a sweet apricot, wrapped in a mild medicinal smokiness. Leave it to breathe for a while and you’ll be rewarded with silver polish, blood oranges and lime zeste. Very complex and absolutely delicious.
I have been nosing this for twenty minutes before putting the glass to my lips. But once tasted… Bam! A kick to the teeth! Very punchy, piquant on salt & pepper, peat and candied ginger. Orange marmalade, lemon juice, honey and the beginnings or brown sugar. Great balance. The smoke is brilliant – unmistakable, far from delicate and yet it does not command your attention.
The finish is very long and clean, making me euphoric. Impressive. This is the 40th Port Ellen I try. I could have done a lot worse.