Port Ellen 1983 (Maltbarn)

This Port Ellen 1983 is one of the new releases from Maltbarn, presented at The Whisky Fair in Limburg, yet it was bottled back in 2012.

Port Ellen is virtually impossible to get these days, especially for independent bottlers. Maybe this was a leftover or ‘lost stock’, or maybe Martin Diekmann already bought them some time ago and decided to wait a while before bringing them to the market.


Port Ellen 1983/2002 MaltbarnPort Ellen 29 yo 1983 (52%, Maltbarn 2012, bourbon cask, 86 btl.)

Nose: very pure, with classic notes of linseed oil and walnuts. Tarry ropes, wet stones, a bit of soot, tar and charcoal. Hints of camphor. A nose that stays on the mineral / coastal side – no loud vanilla or sweetness here, although there is definitely an almond and citrus roundness after a while. Unfolds nicely – not immensely complex, but rather perfectly on target.

Mouth: definitely more sweetness now. Sweet peat, creamy lemon and almond oil. Cocoa and a vague fruitiness. A little ginger with briny notes. Fades on white pepper and ashes, with a soft herbal bitterness.

Finish: long, still quite balanced. Salty almonds and ashes.

An excellent Port Ellen. On the nose it seemed to be too mineral / rough for my preferences, but it gains balance over time and comes out quite wonderfully. Really nice but expensive: around € 600.

Score: 92/100


I guess this could be something we’re going to see more often in the future: intentional delaying (not to say speculation) among bottlers, especially for rare distilleries. If you don’t need the cash right away, then you might as well bottle a cask and keep the bottles behind to release them at a later point, at a higher price. At the time of bottling, merely two years ago, this would have been sold for around € 250.