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The headline bottle of the Diageo Special Releases 2016 – the 16th release of whisky from cult closed distillery Port Ellen. This is a big, spicy dram, balancing smoke and hot spice against the traditional leather, citrus and seaside character.Tasting Notes (1)
- White Pepper
Tasting notes by Billy Abbott (TWE)
Sugared almonds, chamois leather, sherbet lemons, oily smoke, a hint of empty fish tins, brine, floral heather honey and bung cloth – an avalanche of flavours which work impressively well. As things calm down in the glass, spicy rye bread, musty green ferns and touches of hay appear.
Sweet and oily to start, it quickly turns to sour apple with a big kick of spice – rye bread, nutmeg and white pepper. Behind that punch are leathery notes, caramel, treacle toffee and liquorice, with dark chocolate, blackcurrant jam and oaky smoke sitting right at the back. Water brings out more spice and fruit – apple leather, black pepper and freshly scraped vanilla pods.
Driftwood, green leaves and forest ponds to start, with soft liquorice notes building before fading to sweet dark chocolate with a hint of fennel. It keeps going, fading to soft spice after a few minutes.
It’s an intense dram, with water only adding more intensity – one to drink neat. It’s a classic Port Ellen with the almost clichéd chamois leather and sherbet notes balanced perfectly against gentle smoke and seaside character. An impressive dram.
More from Port Ellen
Port Ellen 197922 Year Old 1st Release (2001)
(£7,142.86 per litre)
Port Ellen 197835 Year Old 14th Release (2014)
(£6,785.71 per litre)
Port Ellen 197932 Year Old 12th Release (2012)
(£6,428.57 per litre)
Port Ellen 197930 Year Old 9th Release
(£5,428.57 per litre)
Port Ellen 197824 Year Old 2nd Release (2002)
(£5,357.14 per litre)
Port Ellen 197928 Year Old 7th Release (2007)
(£5,142.86 per litre)
I don’t get to Taste too many really old and “expensive” whiskies , so it is a rare privilege to be sampling this on Burns night, thanks to TWE and the good Dr. Dunn One of those noses that makes you want to sit down, and shut up. It immediately has everything I want in a whisky. An initial hit reminding me of Lagavulin 12, with putty like peat…and then I;m reminded of my beloved Talisker 30 with its delicate mix of fruit and brine. Then it gets sweeter and woodier all at once. like drinking hot chocolate in a room with a newly polished floor. And I;m sucking so hard through my nostrils because even the nose prickle is aromatic. I close my eyes and I;m breathing the sea air on Port Ellen lighthouse looking across The water at the old distillery… Just so grand, eloquent And elegant on the palate/ Sweet gentle and powerful Like lightly peated custard . Creamy, smoky and deep. And then…fruit! I return to the nose, and all the elements, have merged into one harmonious whole. My nose can;t suck hard enough. So delicious. So powerful. So delicate. My God why can;t i buy a bottle of this for 50 quid in Waitrose? Oh, and now through the smoke and sweet peat come all kinds of fruit. From oranges to tropical…lightly spiced smoked cherry jam! And just a touch of earthiness running through the whole experience , and a final hint of coffee, which I always love on a good Caol Ila… This is one off those whiskies that has everything…
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