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Port Ellen 30 yo 60th Anniversary Bottling Douglas Laing 2009 vs Port Ellen 28 yo 1982 Old Bothwell for Germany #2039

Whiskyrific has been offline a fortnight now, that’s because we have been on holiday which culminated at the Limburg Whisky Fair. World’s largest whisky festival. It was absolutely amazing. One big difference that sets the Whisky Fair apart is its relative independence. Unlike the La Maison du Whisky and the Whiskylive model that relies on big distributors and parent companies funding and populating the stands, and which has the effect of appearing like nothing more than a gloried duty free. The Whisky Fair stands are populated by small European whisky shops, auction houses, Italian retailers, and best of all plenty of small independent bottlers. The variety of bottles and distillery representation available is therefore multiples ahead of what you find at Whiskylive. For example, wouldn’t you prefer to trade your vanilla Whiskylive Glenmorangie Experience for a full range of a small but famous European bottler like Alembic Classique? Repeat this fifty times over, and that’s Limburg.

So we’re back from Limburg, it was a blast, had some gorgeous 1969 Port Ellens, and so…

Port Ellen 30 yo 60th Anniversary Bottling Douglas Laing 1949-2009 55.6%

This is a special run of bottlings in the Old Malt Cask garb for Douglas Laing’s 60th Anniversary, making this Port Ellen a 1978 or 1979. I had the 1973 Ardbeg in this series at Limburg, and it was great, classic pristine 70s style without sherry influence. I enjoyed it immensely, so hopes up for this Port Ellen, also matured in a hogshead.

 Nose: I am very fond of these old peated whiskies approaching 25-30 years of age. They have traded the youthful power and upfront presence for a profoundly nuanced complexity. Salty grass, and hints of suede leather, gentle rolling waves and a clear sky over Kilnaughton Bay. Some ground down sand. All is not calm beneath the surface, there is a brooding earthiness and hints of juniper, and a clean washed rooty-ness, like garden vegetables cleaned for the market stand, and which ended up in an uncleaned peat stove. White smoke, not particularly dirty. And bundles of herbs tied up to dry. Elegant and engaging.

 Palate: Still peaty and punchy despite the nuanced nose. No it’s still quite a beast. Shows some clean farmyard and clean hay on the tongue. Moist black earth, some ash and woodsmoke plus something hot and sooty like blackened copper pans on a woodstove. Billowing smoke along the coast, with quite some salty sharpnness and a bit of herbal tincture.

 Finish: Long, smoky, burning hay, camphor, lemon rind and salt.

 

Port Ellen 28 yo 1982 Old Bothwell for Germany #2039 57.5%

 Nose: Ha! Great selection for Germany. A 28 yo which kept its power and in fact reminds me of a 1969 Gordon & Macphail in terms of presence and ‘chiselled-ness’, though the 69 seems to have more of the farmyard and earth, this is pristine and cutting. Clean seawater, granite and cut green fruit, lime leaf, then clean ashy peat, hot coals and white smoke. Some dried grass, salt and leather again. And then  some black earth somewhere about. Very intense and pure.

 Palate: Very awesome. This Port Ellen profile is familiar. White hot coals, clean white ash and big white smoke. Gallons of the most pristine seawater. Add whole candied lemons, rock salt, hot copper, and volcanic-hot granite. Sharp and surgical. Battery acid on a scapel.

 Finish: Long and more of the same. And from an 82 Port Ellen!

 

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This entry was posted on April 30, 2017 by in Port Ellen and tagged .
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