Port Ellen 32 Years Review

Port Ellen 32 Years Review

Port Ellen 32 Years is a $4,000 bottle of unbridled inky peaty madness, but I’ll get into all of that in the Port Ellen 32 Years review below. This section is reserved for chatting about the whiskey or the distillery, but what whisky geek doesn’t know about Port Ellen these days?

Port Ellen is one of the few deified distilleries for whisky nerds everywhere. The left over nectar of the whisky gods whose greedy angelic emissaries have left behind the portion of each cask deemed worthy of human consumption. It’s possible I’m waxing a wee bit poetic about the whole thing, but the truth is that Port Ellen truly did make some wonderful whisky.

Port Ellen 32 Years Info

Region: Islay, Scotland

Distiller: Port Ellen
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: Hogshead
Age: 32 Years
ABV: 53.9%

Cask Strength | Natural Color

Bottles: 2,964

Price: $4,000

Port Ellen 32 Years Review

Toasted bread

The big burly inky oily aroma of the Port Ellen 32 Years rolls out like molasses on amphetamines. Thick layers of peat, salted pork, iodine, smoked meat, licorice and charred fruit get sprinkled with light notes of wood, dark fruit and band-aids.

The liquid is viscous – it’s an oil spill in my mouth, though with significantly fewer dead penguins. Oil slicks of peat, dark fruit, salted caramel, smoked meat, iodine, toffee, and saline sit in a gasoline shimmer atop light notes of fruit leather, minerals, earthy wood and band-aids.

Long and peaty with oily layers of rubber, fruit, hay, wood and something I can only describe as “fossil fuel”.

Great balance, round full body and a thick oily feel.

Port Ellen 32 Years is on the opposite side of the scale from the Brora 37 Years. Where the Brora was bright and crisp, almost refined, this is a big oily smoke monster that makes no apologies for it’s dark chewy belches. Everything about this screamed “I’m an A+ whisky” yet I withheld that mark because it was, maybe, a little too perfect.

Like Diageo had chemically, genetically and meteorologically engineered this whisky. That assertion is of course absurd, but what isn’t absurd is saying that the Port Ellen 32 Years is an Islay lovers dream. It’s a monster ballerina that dances across the senses like a steamroller fueled by pure uncut grace.

This tidy glass of insanity is among a handful of whiskies I’ve ever seriously considered giving an A+ to and if I was able to revisit it at a later date I might, but this bottle did not survive the LAWS meeting. Neither did the Brora 37, so at least for now the Port Ellen 32 Years is going to have to reside on the cusp. Which of course begs the question, if the Port Ellen 32 Years didn’t get an outright and immediate A+, then what will? I don’t know, but I plan to find out!

SCORE: 93-97/100 (A, not consumed at home)

Port Ellen 32 Years - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 97
  • Palate - 97
  • Finish - 97
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 97


Port Ellen 32 Years is an Islay lovers dream. It’s deep, oily, rich, chewy, complex and displays a grace few whiskies of this caliber can. A monster ballerina that dances across the senses like a steamroller whose fuel tank is filled with peat, oil and pure uncut grace.

Port Ellen 32 Years Label

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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2 Responses to Port Ellen 32 Years Review

  1. Jeez, I acquired a bottle of 30 year old Port Ellen for around $300 a few years ago. These prices remind me of the 1959 Chateau Petrus that I bought for $25 when I was in college, that now costs a thousand times as much (if you can find it at all).

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