Elements of Islay is a series by The Whisky Exchange (actually their sister company Speciality 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 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.