Well, well, well. It wouldn't be Diageo Special Releases without a Port Ellen expression, and this one really is rather lovely. Diageo's done the sums, and this is the oldest Port Ellen ever released – and the long-closed Islay distillery just keeps giving and giving. The refill American Oak hogsheads and butts filled in 1979 have crafted a whisky of exquisite balance and subtlety; and with just 2,988 bottles released you can bet it won't hang around for long.
Nose: Grassy dunes, perhaps even some bison grass, alongside sugared soft fruits before the smoke starts to emerge, building to peaty kipper notes.
Palate: Nice and chewy, and once again sweet at first, with a touch of vermouth. Some more herbal oak notes and toasted almonds develop. Subtlety is key throughout here.
Finish: Fragrant smoke, quite dusty, some scorched earth - some of the earthiness of the 2016 release evident on the finish.
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