Thursday 20 October 2022

Tasted #598: 1980 Port Ellen "Prima & Ultima III" 41yo (TimeforWhisky 10 Year Anniversary Dram)

We kicked off our 10th Anniversary tasting celebrations with a 40 Year old Brora from the Prima & Ultima collection (#2), so it felt fitting to (almost) bookend it with an even older Port Ellen, also from the Prima & Ultima collection - #3 this time.

Distilled in 1980 and bottled in July 2021 from two casks (refill American Oak hoggy, ex-Sherry European butt), this bottling joins the rarified ranks of the 40+ year old Port Ellen club - a club with few members and even fewer open bottles. 

1980 Port Ellen "Prima & Ultima III" 41 Year Old (59.6% ABV, 41yo, 1 of 605 bottles, Islay, Scotland, $15,200SGD)

Colour: Golden sunset.

Nose: Oak, lemon zest...if I didn't know better, I'd guess this could be a Caol Ila in its late teens or early 20s. Lemon pie with a freshly-baked crust. With a few drops of water, there's a lot of peppery peat.

Palate: Dusty lemon, salted, then lemon tart, BBQ'd pineapple rings, brine, salted plum, salted lime, then some hints of seaweed. There's a noticeable smokiness - more BBQ than medicinal or coastal, but the saltiness cuts through. 

Finish: Long, salted lemon with some subtle residual peat smoke.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100. A very enjoyable dram, with no signs of over-aging and no "off" notes. If you'd told me it was a 20-something year old Caol Ila (and priced accordingly), I'd believe you and be impressed....but at this sort of level ($15k SGD) I think I expected just a little bit more. 

A very big thanks (again) to Kam Daswani of Dram Good Stuff for his generosity sharing all three Prima & Ultima collections to date.


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