Port Ellen 25 years Old Malt Cask Review

Port Ellen 25 years Old Malt Cask Review (1982 - 2008)

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.

Port Ellen Timeline via Malt Madness

  • 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)
ABV: 50%

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.

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)

Port Ellen 25 years Old Malt Cask label (1982 - 2008)

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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3 Responses to Port Ellen 25 years Old Malt Cask Review

  1. I’ve had some fabulous Port Ellen’s over the years, going back to when I first visited Islay in 1989, though the last one was probably over 15 years ago now. Lovely though it is/was, the prices started to go a bit doolally in the early noughties and I’ve not seen it in any shape or form in yonks. A tragic loss for sure. Maybe some rich bugger could do a Lazarus job and bring it back from the dead. I’d put some hard-earned sponds in for sure.

  2. The irony is that when Port Ellen was good, which more often than it not was, it could knock Lagavulin, Bowmore, Caol Il
    a, Bunna, and even my beloved Ardbeg into a cocked hat for sophistication, complexity and sheer élan. Come on, LVMH, here’s something worthwhile spending your cash stash on!

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