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Ask many Islay aficionados to name their favourite single malt and thy will unhesitatingly say 'Port Ellen.' The whisky has gained almost legendary status, partly due to its relative scarcity, as the distillery was one of those closed down in 1983 by the Distillers Company Ltd as it attempted to drain the 'whisky loch' of excess stocks created by over-production during the 1970s.
Port Ellen, 27-year-old
Signatory Cask Strength Collection (Scotland)

Diageo has released a number of highly-acclaimed expressions of Port Ellen under its ‘Special Release’ programme, but some very good independent bottlings are also to be found. They include this 27-year-old single cask bottling, distilled in February 1983, just a few months before the distillery closed, and finished in a wine-treated butt before being bottled in April of this year. It comes courtesy of Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co Ltd, formerly of Edinburgh, but now based at the Perthshire distillery of Edradour. The nose is sweet and fruity, with vanilla, peat, black pepper and tobacco notes. Sweet and malty on the palate, with subtle peat and soft oak notes. Barley sugar with the addition of water, and the peat becomes much more muted. Steadily drying in the lengthy finish, with no adverse oak tannins. Stands up very well for its age. 55.7% ABV, 70cl, £160.00, specialist whisky merchants.

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