The Port Ellen distillery needs no introduction. This famous distillery that once had been closed, will start distilling again shortly. It is currently in the process of being restored to its former glory. And with former Lagavulin distillery manager Georgie Crawford in charge, I’m sure the spirit will be well balanced. It will of course take years and years for the whisky to age, and it may never be the same as the whiskies that were released prior to it being mothballed in 1983. The pre-1983 editions are top-notch jewels for any Port Ellen fan. It doesn’t get any better than that.
There’s not much left of the casks that were distilled at the old Port Ellen distillery, and for independent bottlers they are almost impossible to obtain or release at this age. One of these very rare gems was released by Goren’s Whisky. This is the independent whisky label owned by its namesake Tomer Goren, master distiller at the Milk & Honey Distillery in Israel. A familiar name in the whisky industry, who learned the tricks of the trade at several distilleries in Scotland. Tomer Goren is also known for his exceptionally great cask selection and his very good nose and palate when it comes to tasting. I remember very well that we sat down at the Port Ellen Hotel on Islay and we had ourselves some very old Port Ellens poured by the owner James Morris. It was a 1975 by Signatory, if memory serves. It would not surprise me if that inspired him to go looking for such an exceptional old cask to release for Goren’s Whisky himself after that.
It must have been a journey to find such an exceptional jewel but this is totally my cup, I mean dram, of whisky! One of the oldest ever to see the light of day, but this is by no means a light whisky. It has flavours of old oaky tones with a robust but mild peaty character, with hints of leather, and citrus flavours such as grapefruit. Is there some iodine, like older Islays are famous for? Yes, there is!
In my book, this a solid 92 points. Considering the consecutive distillery releases, this really is a bang for your buck, so to speak.