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Since 2010, Malts of Scotland has released a beautiful Port Ellen every year. First we had the 27 Year Old on sherry butt, which was simply marvellous, last year the 28 Year Old on bourbon that I recently put in an Islay line-up. Both were distilled in the year of closure: 1983. Now, MoS treats us to a 30 Year Old from 1982, matured on a sherry hogshead. It has a deep golden color with an amber sheen (first fill?) and beads like there is no tomorrow.
What the…? The nose is a lot less peaty and salty than I would have expected. It is delicately smoky, but very fruity. Canned pineapple, strawberry, rhubarb, sultanas. Quite jammy, in fact. Have not encountered such a Port Ellen before. Some marzipan, dark chocolate from Ecuador and chestnut. Coffee liqueur towards the end. Boy, the layers on this one!
On the palate it is surprisingly creamy and mouth coating. Soft and wonderful. The fruitiness has to make place for some smoked, salty bacon. Do you know those dades with a slice of bacon around them? Great stuff. A touch of woodspice. The sherry influence, just like the balance betwee sweet and salt, is near perfect.
The long, sweet finish, gives away the salty distillery character on the deathbed.
If you are looking for typical Port Ellen, this one will surprise you, for it is anything but. It is a grand Port Ellen, though. It will take a 225 EUR bite out of your whisky budget.