Single malt whisky - tasting notes

04 May 2010

Port Ellen Pe1 (Elements of Islay)

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Port Ellen

Elements of Islay Elements of Islay is a series by The Whisky Exchange (actually their sister company Specialty Drinks Ltd) presenting single casks of Ardbeg, Laphroaig and other Islay distilleries. They are bottled in 50cl bottles with a code that reminds us of the Mendelejev periodic table.

Sherried Port Ellen is a difficult exercise sometimes. Heavy peat or heavy sherry quickly dominate each other, but when the balance is right, fireworks arise! This was the first Port Ellen in the Elements of Islay range, and it won a silver medal at the 2009 Malt Maniacs Awards.


Port Ellen PE1Port Ellen Pe1
(58,7%, Elements of Islay 2009)

Nose: wow. And a few minutes later: WOW. Dark chocolate with a fruity centre. Hints of cecina (cured and smoked cow meat, typical of León in Spain). Well balanced between sweet, smoked and savory. Wonderful how big fruit (apples, raspberry) and dry peat go hand in hand. Hints of rubber and tobacco. Cocoa. A few medicinal notes and seaweed. Soot. Very complex. With water: juicier (fresh plums, more berries). Mouth: oily attack, now the peat and smoke take the lead – a bit too much maybe. Hints of sweet almonds and lemon, but they’re too easy for the big wave of peat. Slightly sharp peat with a salty edge of liquorice. Some pepper. With water: a tad minty with hints of tobacco. Finish: long, dry and smokey.

A perfect example of a successful marriage between peat and sherry. Around € 130 at the time, but sold out. A new Port Ellen PE2 is expected really soon, so keep an eye on the TWE website if you’re tempted.

Score: 92/100

Port Ellen Pe1 (Elements of Islay) 4.5 Ruben Luyten 2010-05-04
  • Gal


  • Ruben

    True. Did you have a chance to taste it?

  • aw

    This stuff was great. Sherry + peat can be an exciting and unpredictable mixture… I don’t actually like Ardbeg Uigeadail, but the Lagavulin 21 was sensational. And this Port Ellen was mighty stuff indeed.

    I got strong disinfectant notes off this PE… like a freshly cleaned public toilet. Now that doesn’t sound very nice, but actually it worked quite well! I prefer the classic, ‘vanillaed’ PE profile, but if this sort of thing came up again, I’d certainly go for it.

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August 2015
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Coming up

  • Highland Park 1995 (Whisky Mercenary)
  • Irish Single Malt 27yo 1988 (The Nectar of the Daily Drams)
  • Irish Single Malt 16yo 1999 (The Nectar of the Daily Drams)
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  • Glen Garioch 1993 (Maltbarn)
  • Glenlivet 42yo (Cadenhead)
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  • Woodford Reserve Master's Collection
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  • Springbank 2001 vintage

1861 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.