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Port Ellen Distillery ceased production in 1983 and remains one of the most mourned closed distilleries, in fact in the last 10 years or so it has been enjoying a cult status. While in the 1990s independent bottlers flooded market with Port Ellen today their releases are extremely scarce. Every year since 2001 Port Ellen single malt has been part of Diageo’s annual Special Releases range with demand exceeding supply many times over. Year 2012 brought 2964 bottles of Port Ellen 12th Release, 32 years old whisky distilled in 1979 and aged in refill American and European oak casks. As usual, it was bottled at natural strength, this time 52.5%.
Nose: lots of maritime characteristics, seashells, seaweed, delicate smoky and iodine notes, forest floor, almonds, lemons, grapefruits, hints of leather and oak.
Palate: peaty, somewhat smoky and briny, seaweed salad, grapefruits, quince jelly, touch of vanilla and caramel, roasted almonds and hint of lemon grass.
Finish: very long, peat, salted almonds, licorice, grapefruits and delicate oaky bitterness.