Port Ellen got its start in 1825 and pumped out whisky for over 100 years till it was shuttered for the first time in 1929 due to the depression. For the next 36 years it was used for malting and warehousing other whisky owned by Scottish Malt Distillers (who were owned by Distiller’s Company Limited which is now Diageo) and then in 1965 it was brought back online and began producing whisky once again.
From 1966 – 1967 Port Ellen underwent some renovations to bring it up to speed from a 36 year slumber, but its return would be short lived and the distillery would be shut down once and for all in 1983. 9 years later its license was cancelled and in 2003 much of it was demolished, including the still house. Currently there is a malting facility on the grounds which was built in 1973 and it’s where most islay distilleries whiskies get their malt from (Port Ellen Maltings). So sad to see it go.
- 1825 – Port Ellen was founded
- 1836 – John Ramsay bought Port Ellen after it had changed hands multiple times
- 1920 – Bought by the Port Ellen Distillery Co. – was run by the Ramsay family till then
- 1929 – Mothballed by its owners DCL / John Dewar & Sons but maltings and warehousing still used
- 1966 – Number of stills doubled from 2 to 4
- 1967 – Port Ellen began distilling once again
- 1974 – Floor malting replaced by drum malting
- 1983 – Closed for the last time
- 1994 – License to distill cancelled
- 2003 – Demolition
Port Ellen 25 years Old Malt Cask Info
Region: Isaly, Scotland
Distiller: Port Ellen (1825 – 1983)
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: refill ex-Bourbon
Age: 25 years (1982 – 2007)
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Price: NA – Private sale or auction
Port Ellen 25 years Old Malt Cask Review
Light pear juice
A light and refreshing nose that packs a lot of great aromas into the glass. Peat, of course, starts us off with a complex orchard fruit and moves to a hay like malt with some vanilla and darker sweet notes. Not a world breaker, but a damn fine nose nonetheless.
Peat moves out first followed by some honey, orchard fruit, dark sweetness, fresh berries and hay. Not as complex as the nose, but still really nice.
Long and tasty finish of peat, vanilla, malt and orchard fruit. Very nice indeed.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Great balance and a nice rich body with a slightly chalky texture.
I can see why people go bananas for Port Ellen. This Port Ellen 25 years Old Malt Cask is a solid peated Islay that’s ridiculously easy to sip and I can imagine if I was able to take the bottle home and do a proper tasting it would have offered up even more in the way of aromas and flavors. As is, the warm peated fruity character was accented nicely by some honey and dark sweet notes which were very nice and I wish I could afford a bottle.
SCORE: 87-89/100 (Range due to a single glass & not tasting at home)
Port Ellen 25 years Old Malt Cask Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 87
- Palate - 87
- Finish - 87
- Balance, Body & Feel - 87
Port Ellen 25 years Old Malt Cask label (1982 - 2008)