Port Ellen 39 Year Old 1978 Untold Stories – The Spirit Safe
Review by @markjedi1
- Brand: Port Ellen
- Type: Scotch
- Region: Islay
- ABV: 50.9%
Let me start with the fact that this new Port Ellen will cost around 5.000 EUR, which is out of this world. You do get a fantastic packaging which is a metaphor for the spirit safe, which was first installed at Port Ellen. So you need two keys to get to the whisky, which is also a nod to the aforementioned apparatus. It is the oldest Port Ellen to date with its 39 years of maturation. Mind you, this is not a single cask, but a vatting of bourbon and refill sherry casks, bottled at a cask strength of 50.9%. Only 1.500 bottles worldwide are looking for a new owner with deep pockets. But is the whisky – which sounds and looks so legendary – also any good?
Very lively and aromatic nose, in which the typical Port Ellen peat is very delicate and remains in the background, thus allowing all kinds of fruit to shine. Believe me, this is a complex fruit bomb on sultanas and mango, honey, tiger balm, melon, lime and mint. Surprisingly minty, in fact, making it seem much younger – which is to be seen as a compliment in this case.
It is powerful on the palate, but very elegant at the same time. The peat smoke is now much more prominent and offers quite a bit of silt and smoke, while the fruit chooses lime as its leader. Midpalate it again becomes quite tropical and even a bit candy-like with coconut and Turkish Delight. But so very lively!
The finish is deliciously long and represents a large part of the experience of this malt. It starts with sweet smoke and ends with a perfect little bitterness as if from a grape pith.
Lively, elegant and complex. Those are the three keywords that linger in my brain. Add overpriced as a fourth, but that will not surprise anyone. It a bit different than other PE’s I’ve tried, but that is most likely due to the fact that for this release only a limited number of casks was selected. I wish I could afford this, for it is truly sublime. In fact, it’s my 4th highest scoring whisky ever and the best Port Ellen ever for me (so far). Thank you, Arno – or more fitting: Honorable Mr Dobbels – for giving me this opportunity to taste!
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Thanks for letting use live vicariously through you, Mark. Indeed most of us will never see this whisky in real life, let alone taste it. I’m glad you got the opportunity and that you’re sharing the experience with us.
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