On the eve of an unprecedented Dram Initiative Port Ellen tasting (well…couple eves away actually) I thought it would be apropos to post a few notes on one of the expressions we’ll be sharing with 80 of our closest mates.
As this one is from nearly a decade ago now, we’ll not get too longwinded. With an outturn of only 476 bottles, chances are not too many will have had an opportunity to try this Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask selection. That being said…we preserve these things for posterity and to add to the written lore of Port Ellen. The more details captured now, the better the record in years to come. That’s sort of the way I look at these jottings anyway.
Slightly atypical of Port Ellen, but not too far off the path, this one still retains the signature fragility and citric tarry-ness, but instead of a background of soft fruits starting to make their presence known through age, this one rests more on the phenolic encumbrances of all things Islay. Namely…seashores, smoke in the air, medicinal nuance and the remnants of fire. Oh yeah…and a hefty noseful of warm rubber welly boots.
Not a top tier PE, but a lovely dram irrespective and certainly a treat to try.
Nose: Lemon. Rubber, tar and ash. A touch of creosote. Medicinal top notes. Smoke and earthy notes. Pepper. White chocolate. Not a lot in the way of fruits. Oceanic. Dust (as in in old books). Wet rocks. Barley is easily detectable. Peat and smoke.
Palate: Whoa. Much more smoke now. Dry and ashy. Still rubber. Now licorice. Some dry, bitter citrus zest. Oak. Lemon on charred scallops. Underripe green apple. A little emergent fruit now. Peaty, earthiness. Smoke grows and lingers, almost like toasted wood.
Thoughts: Fruity notes do eventually emerge, but this is not a fruity dram.
– Images & Words: Curt