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

Port Ellen 30 yo 1982 Fasszination Vom Fass vs Port Ellen 24 yo 1978 2nd Annual Release

Reopned in 1967, closed for good in 1983. This short period saw a number of important changes: When it reopened in ’67 it had been expanded to 4 stills heated by coal stokers, which were very quickly phased out and by 1970 steam heating was in use. The next change came in 1973 when the massive new Port Ellen Maltings facility with their huge drum maltings (that ‘factory’ that sits in the distillery premises today) was built and opened in 1973. Even when the distillery proper closed in 1983, the Maltings would go on to supply the Diageo distilleries and after the 1987 Port Ellen Concordat, all the distilleries on Islay.

portellenstills (The only photo of the stills I can find – whiskyforum.se)

The levels of peating also seem to have varied according to which maltings were in use. The floor maltings seem to have been peated to 40-60ppm, while the Port Ellen maltings supplied 35ppm malt. This would suggest the first years of distillation would have been supplied with the heavier peated malt which then were reduced when the 2 maltings’ malts were mixed, and then further reduced after the floor maltings were closed in the late 70s.

Further trivia: Did you know Port Ellen was where the first spirit safe was tested in 1824!


Port Ellen 30 yo 1982/2013 Fasszination for Vom Fass by Hunter Laing 56.5%

Port Ellen 30 Fasszination

Nose Nose: Having tried a few 82/83 Port Ellens I find the last years of distillation extremely consistent, and also very good. So oily new leather and leather creme, slightly dirty grey smoke, earthy damp wood. A pile of dry grass. Toned down maritime character but the salt is there, along with some crystallized lemons and maybe a slight herbal-grassy buzz. Very good.

Taste Palate: More salt and brine on the palate, but the nose delivers. More obvious leathery-oily notes and grassiness, but now also a slight oily mustiness. Very enjoyable and multifaceted without being too difficult. Again not sure how this one started life in 1982, but the peat is now rather subtle, and smokey.

Finish Finish: Long, smokey, leathery, grassy.


Actually very very good but for that slight stale mustiness which could really be a tad too much leather.


Port Ellen 24 yo 2nd Release 1978/2002 59.35%

Port Ellen 2ndrelease

Nose Nose: Well ok, quite different from the 82, it just feels much wider and much more complex but at the cost of accessibility. This takes time, the right amount of water and patience to understand. Lots of flinty minerals, lots of different oils and salves. Citrus oils, cedar oil, sandalwood oil, very sharp lemon essence, almond oil, lots of thick dense wax notes appearing too. And that same somewhat dirty grey smoke, hot coals and hot stones. Really very good though again not the most accessible. Again I am grateful this is not marred by huge peat.

Taste Palate: Powerful stuff, even reduced. Not an easy one, and does go in several directions at the same time, and I never really grasped it..  but the stoney-ness, citrus notes and the oils and old waxes do pop out.

Finish Finish: Long, earthy peat smoke and cold firepit.


Excellent, though difficult to approach and therefore not quite the easy drinker. Quite brutal even without water. Still some ways from the best Port Ellen around though.


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This entry was posted on July 21, 2016 by in Port Ellen and tagged .
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