Port Ellen - 19 year old McGibbons Provenance Bottling

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I picked this bottle up some time ago at (I think) the whisky shop at Heathrow. It was distilled in spring 1982 and bottled in spring 2002 as ‘over 19 years old’. Now this is a special whisky; Port Ellen closed in 1984 and is now partly demolished. The maltings survive, supplying malted barley to the remaining Islay distilleries, but the stills are gone forever.
Pale gold in colour, with a slightly salty, slightly sweet nose, this is not a heavyweight Islay malt in the style of Ardbeg or Laphroiag. Smooth and sweet on the palate, the finish is long and strong - smoky, salty with a hint of that seaside iodine tang. I could drink a lot of this one…



Robin Wilton

In that case, have you investigated the various Bowmore sub-brands? Geographically Port Ellen is about mid-way between Bowmore and Laphroaig. Whether the same can be said of their flavours, only massive research could reveal….


Oh yes, I’m no stranger to Bowmore. Bowmore is definitely more salty than either Port Ellen or Laphroiag - their whiskies mature in seaside vaults below sea level. Hmm - I think I’ve got one of the Bowmores in my whisky cabinet - maybe it’s time for another review…


For the benefit of non-Brit readers, Jilly Goulden was a presenter on a show called ‘Food & Drink’. Wine was her speciality, and she was famous for her vivid descriptions of bouquet and flavour - “Wheelbarrows full of ugli fruit”

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