70cl // 43.0% ABV
To say bottlings of Port Ellen are sought after is just a bit of an understatement. While the distillery remains silent, and has done since 1983, releases like this rare Gordon & MacPahil Connoisseurs Choice bottling give us a window into the past and a chance to sample the wonders of their craft. It was distilled at the Port Ellen distillery on Islay in 1981 and eventually bottled in 2000.
Nose: Full sherry with some red fruit, burnt heather and a reasonably heavy smell. Although, there is also something crisp, like mint or anise.
Taste: A full flavour, although I think it would be better at cask strength. Not too thin, though, and a tad drying. In the taste I also find light red fruit, strawberry and some cherry. Also, the peat is much more prominent here than it was on the nose.
Finish: The finish is a bit more spicy than I expected, I’d call it strawberries and balsamic vinegar.
This is a very nice Port Ellen, not typical, since most of them are a bit lighter in flavour and have more pronounced peat smoke. All aspects of the whisky are pretty complex and balanced and it makes for a nice wintertime dram.