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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Port Ellen Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Islay Distillery 1825-1983 Information

Port Ellen Scotch Whisky Distillery History

Located 1 mile west of Laphroig the distillery was founded in 1825 by Alexander Mackay shortly afterwards became bankrupt. The distillery remained in the Mackay



In 1836 the distillery was sold to John Ramsay. He pioneered export to the USA, developed the spirit safe and persuaded the government to allow Islay whiskies to be bonded free of duty.


Also under John Ramsey the distillery was the location of some of the earliest experiments into continuous distillation with both Stein and Coffey, Originators of Grain whisky distillation.


Port Ellen Distillery Co. Ltd acquired the distillery in 1920. They in turn were taken over by DCL in 1927and subsequently mothballed in the 1930 slump in trade.


It was reopened in 1967 by DCL (present owners) the number of stills doubled to four.


A Large malting facility was built opposite the distillery in 1973


The distillery was mothballed in the great whisky cull of 1983.


The site is now warehousing for DCLs' other Islay distilleries. It is also home of a large malt plant, which supplies the remaining distilleries on the island, thanks to an official agreement signed to secure employment for the island’s workforce.


Port Ellen has been closed for 24 years so bottlings of this rare and Iconic Islay malt are becoming very short in supply.


Lightly phenolic, peat smoke with iodine, Gentler than the other 3 southshore distilleries. Complex, oily, peppery, salty, herbal, medicinal, clean and firm.


Port Ellen Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distillery Bottlings

Annual releases

#1   Port Ellen 22 years old 1978 - 56.2%  6000 bottles released 2001

#2   Port Ellen 22 years old 1979 - 57.3%  6000 bottles released 2001

#3   Port Ellen 24 years old 1978 - 59.4%  12000 bottles released 2002

#4   Port Ellen 25 years old 1978 - 56.2%  5100 bottles released 2004

#5   Port Ellen 25 years old 1979 - 57.4%  5280 bottles released 2005

#6   Port Ellen 27 years old 1978 - 54.2%  4560 bottles released 2006

#7   Port Ellen 28 years old 1979 - 53.8%  5274 bottles released 2007

#8   Port Ellen 29 years old 1979 - 55.3%  6618 bottles released 2008

#9   Port Ellen 30 years old 1979  -57.7%  5916 bottles released 2009

#10 Port Ellen 31 years old 1979  -54.6%  3000 bottles released 2010

#11 Port Ellen 32 years old 1978  -53.9%  2988 bottles released 2012

#12 Port Ellen 32 Year Old  1979 - 52.5%  2964 bottles released 2012

#13 Port Ellen 34 Year Old  1978 - 55.0%  2958 bottles released 2013

#14 Port Ellen 35 Year Old  1978 - 56.5%  2964  bottles released 2014


Rare Malts Selection

Port Ellen Aged 20 years 1978 60.9% Rare Malts Selection

released 1998

Port Ellen Aged 22 years 1978 60.5% Rare Malts Selection

released 2000


Port Ellen Single Malt Scotch Whisky 22 year old 1978 -70cl Rare Malts Selection

Colour: Gold


Starts with arousing seaweed aromas - “like walking on the beach” - The light firm body style reveals smooth sea salt, crusty bread flavours, and a sweetly salty, powerful long and complex finish.


Port Ellen Single Malt Scotch Whisky Independent Bottlings 


Berry's Own Selection


Bladnoch Forum


Chieftain's (Ian Mcleod)

Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon & MacPhail)

Dewar Rattery

Dun Bheagan (Ian McLeod),

Golden Cask

Norse Cask (Denmark)

Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing),

Platinum Old & Rare (Douglas Laing),

Provenance (Douglas Laing)

Scotts Selection (Speyside Distillers)

Un-Chill Filtered  (Signatory).

Wilson & Morgan

Whisky Fai (Germany)


Port Ellen Single Malt Whisky 24 year old Provenance 46%, 70cl

Provenance bottling by Douglas Laing. Single Cask.DMG Ref: 4127.

The "Final Vintage" in its Last Season of Distillation.


On the nose is an immediate wall of peat, syacked beach-side with clean fresh sea-salty air in abundance.

Sweet on the palate initially , it moves through different phases of vanillia, phenols, tannins and gristy quality to some latesoft chewed leather - replicated on the finish plus a little extra pepperiness iodine, and tarry character. (F)

Port Ellen Distillery,

Port Ellen

Isle of Islay

PA4 27AH


Closed Distillery

Port Ellen Scotch Whisky

Distillery StyleTasting Notes


Nose: Medicinal, smoky, peaty, salty, green olives.


Palate: Medium bodied. Lovely oily texture with layer upon layer of complex peat flavours, smoke, herbs, vanilla, spices and kippers.


Finish: Very long and smoky.

Founded in 1825 by Alexander Mackay

Location Islay region South shore district

Water source Leorin Lochs

Mothballed in 1983 equipment believed to be dismantled and removed