Tuesday 17 November 2020

Tasted #500: Port Ellen 40yo 1979 "Prima & Ultima"

When I started this blog over 8 years ago, I didn't really know where it would lead, but it's fair to say I didn't expect that after all this time it would still be running with regular updates, spanning two countries and with two writers. I also didn't expect we'd ever see a 500th tasting post either, and yet here we are!

Over the years I've tried to keep the "100s" posts for special drams. #200 was a 60yo Glenfarclas#300 was a 65yo Macallan#400 was a 50yo OB Balvenie...and for this 500th post, I was fortunate enough to try a 40 Year Old Port Ellen from Diageo's recent "Prima & Ultima" range, which in some ways seems to have picked up the mantle from the Special Releases (themselves becoming a bit more accessible - no bad thing, mind you). 


You don't say no to a Port Ellen, and whilst they're not all deserving of the hype, this one bottled from a single refill European Oak Butt, and matured for 40 years from 1979-2019, certainly filled me with a lot of hope. Thankfully, my hope was justified.

Port Ellen 40yo 1979 "Prima & Ultima" (51.2% ABV, 40yo, OB, 1979-2019, Cask #6422, Islay)


Colour: Rich deep amber gold.

Nose: Lemons at first, then a grassy herbaceousness. A hint of mint? Subtle salty smoke, leading to seaweed and finally hints of an old cigar box.

Palate: The smoke comes through stronger on the palate - BBQ smoke, followed by orange wheels and an explosion of meatiness. Quite different to the much more subdued nose, this was chewy, viscous and "big". Dried fruits, chocolate, smoked seaweed all feature too.

Finish: Long, with sea salted peanuts, followed by charcuterie and a residual longing BBQ smoke at the end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. What an experience.

A humungous thanks to Kam of Dram Good Stuff for the taste of this. Whilst they don't currently have this bottle listed, they do have another OB 1979 40yo Port Ellen available if this one has whetted your appetite!


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