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So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Port Ellen 15 yo 1969, Sestante

IMG_8370 (circa 2009)

What a treat – Port Ellen only reopened in 1967 (closed for good in 1983) and this beautiful bottle comes from a time when the distillery had only been distilling for 2 years. I have not tried a Port Ellen from this early on, and I hope it gives me a good example of the early style as commented on by the whisky literati (whiskyrati?)

We have had a monstrously huge Port Ellen in the form of PE5 which must be from a later distillation period, how will this compare?

Port Ellen 15 yo 1969, for Sestante by Gordon & Macphail, 40%

PE15yo1969Sestante

Nose  Nose: It’s a smoky grill, and hot metal. Peat yes but a rooty earthy wet peat. Not a huge whisky, in fact, it’s rather reticent, but balanced. With time: Engine oil, coastal notes of salt crusted lines knotted with seaweed. Calm day at the harbour, still sea water instead of ‘fish’. Also something sweet, but what? Barley sugar? Something both vegetal and sweetly grain-like, could also be a different kind of fruity – I can’t tell! Ok, scalded cream. Aha, old cardboard in there too.

Taste  Palette: Quite a light body. Smoky again, and full of minerals/flints. sprinkled with white pepper. Again, well balanced, no overbearing peat here, and there’s something vegetal about the peat. Smoked ham, and turns salty-sweet. That sweet note…

Finish  Finish: Medium long, salt water, not exactly drying, but loads of smoke that doesn’t want to blow off anywhere.

Score90

Not a huge Port Ellen for sure. It’s 1969 and changes are afoot, a quiet old-time style for days gone by. What it does not have in hugeness, it more than makes up with complexity and balance, a stylistic counterpoint, and we are all the richer for it.

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This entry was posted on March 3, 2014 by in Port Ellen and tagged , , .
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