...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mathilda Malt Report: Port Ellen 25 year old 1982 Old Malt Cask

Port Ellen.  It's expensive.  It's also frequently excellent.  I've never had a Port Ellen that wasn't great.  Okay, I've had all of five PEs but anyway.  This is the last Port Ellen sample in my stash and very likely the last review of the dead Islay distillery here on this blog.  I certainly can't afford a bottle and I don't think anyone is actually opening his or her Port Ellens anymore.  Anyhoo, this (paid for) sample is from the LASC Dead Distilleries event in 2014.  I worked the door and took my pour home with me.

The undertaker is sorry for your loss.
Distillery: Port Ellen
Ownership: Heartless Bastards
Region: Islay
Bottler: Douglas Laing
Age: 25 years (November 1982 - January 2008)
Maturation: refill ex-bourbon barrel
Cask #: I have no idea, two other folks have reviewed this cask but neither listed a cask number, also Whiskybase has no listing for it
Limited Release: 300 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 50%

I tasted this alongside yesterday's Ardbeg 30 year old...

Its color is five beer piss.  Yay!  The nose is very spirity.  Burnt barbecue sauce on the grill, arugula, mint leaves, celery, and Spanish smoked paprika.  Some cashew butter, cassia cinnamon, veggie peat.  Was this from a 15th-fill barrel.  This is like young Talisker and Caol Ila.  After 30 minutes, a little bit of brighter fruit sneaks in.  Then yeast and parsley.  Kristen said it smelled like sewage.  The palate is aggressive and herbal.  Think weed and hot basil.  Quite sweet and grassy, then rock candy and brown sugar syrup, making it feel slightly rummy.  More smoke than moss in the finish.  Black pepper, brown sugar, and paprika.  Simple but full.

Had I not been present when the bottle was opened, I'd never believe this was a 25 year old anything, let alone a Port Ellen.  It reads like an Islay, but an uncut 5-8 year old Islay through and through.  So it's not bad, but it shows nearly no signs of actual maturation.  I would think one would want something more out of a $1000 whisky, unless you're, you know, "investing" or something.  Money aside, this is still a solid B grade whisky that would appeal to us fans of zany young peaters.  Just don't go in expecting A grade stuff like I just did.

Availability - Auctions and black market
Pricing - $1000ish
Rating - 85


  1. I can imagine that quality control was not tip-top at a point when the industry in general was slumping and PE was slated for closure.

    1. Good point. I've also had a few Old Malt Casks whose actual casks seemed a bit......old?