This Port Ellen 1978 (6th release – 2006) was part of an Islay sampler pack as well. The 20cl version is filled at 54,3% whereas the full bottles are filled at 54,2%. I don’t think the differences are substantial.
The 6th was the most limited release by the way (4560 bottles).
Port Ellen 27 yo 1978 ‘6th release’
(54,3%, OB 2006, 20cl)
Nose: quite shy at first and rather simple. Lemon and coastal notes, but it doesn’t seem to open up or show more layers. With some hand warmth, a certain fruitiness does come out: yellow apple, some melon. It seems slightly more sherried than the other two (hints of prunes). Very gentle. Very lightly grassy.
Mouth: less coastal than the other two and certainly less salty than the 3rd. Spicy hints of nutmeg and pepper. A nice layer of honeyed sweetness, but in the end it seems to fall between two stools. It’s not as sensual as the 7th release and not as powerful as the 3rd.
Finish: slowly fading, holding the middle between earthy peat, pepper and softer vanilla notes.
On the nose, you could name this “the fruity one”. With a little help, it shows beautiful fruity notes that are not to be found in the 3rd or 7th release. Yet, on the palate it’s more like “the undecided one”. Not bad at all, especially when assessed on its own, but it suffers from the direct comparison and it’s less expressive than the other two. Around € 275 but quickly rising.
ps/ Please mind that the 6th release gets quite a high score in the Whiskybase community. In the end, it’s all a matter of personal preference of course. What’s undecided for one person is balanced for the other.