Celebrating 300 Posts in Style: 1978 Port Ellen

WOW, this 300th post kind of sneaked up on me. In my mind, I was somewhere past 200 posts in this blog, sharing the more interesting parts of my whisky journey. But the 200th post was published on February 14th, 2015 (we tasted the Aultmore 21), and here we are at another milestone.

Again, let me thank you for sharing this journey with me. I love your feedback, comments and emails, and really look forward to hearing your thoughts, opinions and comments through any media. Granted, the journey is personal, but we’re all on the same trail.

This is how The Simpsons commemorated their 300th episode! Photo Credit: lardlad.com

This is how The Simpsons commemorated their 300th episode!
Photo Credit: lardlad.com

I have accumulated eight tastings of Port Ellen upon which I have yet to write, and will use this festive opportunity to go share them. This series will take us through the Jewish new year five day weekend beginning this Friday, and give us time for one more tasting flight before I travel to Scotland and London for the annual Whisky Show.

This is a 1978 Signatory Vintage bottling. 1978 was also popular with the official Special Releases, as four of the 14 official releases are of this vintage. This Port Ellen is one of the most challenging drams I’ve had, as it fights you on every turn. It’s very closed and unyielding, and takes quite a bit of water and time until it “plays ball”. When it does, it’s pretty nice, but even then there’s something reluctant about it. It seems like this one would require a lot more than a dram to fall in love with, or even to develop a serious relationship with.


Photo Credit: thewhiskyvault.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyvault.com

Signatory Vintage 1978 Port Ellen, 23 Years Old, Distilled 5.9.1978, Bottled 8.2.2002, Refill Sherry Butt 5268, Yielding 564 Bottles (59% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold, with very thin and slow forming legs running reluctantly down the glass.

Nose: Not very enticing at first. Some mild wet peat, distant sweetness and vinegar with some wood spice. The nose is very shy and needs water.
Water brings out a little more of the sherry sweetness with pepper, cinnamon, a distant baking pound cake and peat. The whisky is now borderline piney. I set the glass aside (covered) for about a twenty minutes, at which point I let out a big Richard Paterson “haloooooo”: Now the peat and sherry take center stage with faint cereals in the background.

Palate: Fizzy peat, bitter citrus, hints of Christmas cake, faint notes of sherry with a peppery punch and a hint of rosemary.

Linger: Pepper in the back of the throat, bitterness in the mouth with a tiny hint of sweetness and quite a bit of dry tartness on the insides of the cheeks. The linger is not overly long.


This is one that will challenge you at every turn. At start, you’ll struggle to get anything beyond the uninviting closed nose and it takes a lot of coaxing to get the dram to open. Even when it does, it does so reluctantly to reveal a lot of complexity and different layers. Do not pour if you don’t have a solid hour to spend with it….

This Port Ellen was shared with me by my friend and Malt and Oak guest blogger Henrik, Kippis!!

2 comments on “Celebrating 300 Posts in Style: 1978 Port Ellen
  1. manny says:

    may your glass be ever full!

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