Port Ellen 1979 Bottling for Whisky Live Tel Aviv 2018

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I never really thought I’d be making a Port Ellen post. Let alone from my own bottle. For those unfamiliar with the distillery, it was an Islay distillery which shut down in 1983, owned by a company that would eventually become part of Diageo, they left quite a healthy stock of casks which have slowly been bottled over the years. Whisky distilled in a distillery that shut down before I was born is something special indeed.

This one was bottled by Tomer Goren, a very prolific character on the Israeli whisky scene, for 2018’s Whisky Live Tel Aviv, which he helps organise, from a personal cask. This cask was a sherry cask containing spirit distilled in 1979 and aged 37 years.  Something I don’t often comment on, but I find the label on this bottle particularly beautiful, designed by a local tattoo artist.

I had a lot of friends from overseas over recently for my wedding so figured it’d be as good a time as any to crack the bottle open and share around.

Aged 37 years. 44.8% ABV. Matured in a sherry hogshead. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from a single cask.

Nose: Takes a bit to open up. Fruit leather. Gunpowder. Roasted cashew. Cacao. There is a sort of dry earthiness here, probably the mellowed out peat. Light wood smoke. Cedar. Red fruits. Wet leaf piles.

Palate: Wood smoke. Tar. Light salt, kind of like beef jerky. Bitter wood. Stone fruits. Nutty sherry notes.

Finish: Medium. Gunpowder. Polished wood. Light smoke. Earthiness. Nutty sherry.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

This isn’t a massively complex whisky, but it has some lovely notes to it which have melded so well together with some age, with a very scaled down peat profile, letting it show off the sherry and mature spirit character really nicely. I’ve only had two of the official Diageo Port Ellens before and profile here is very different from those so not much to compare with really. The low ABV does take a bit off the finish, but really just an amazing whisky to have and enjoy.

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