Port Ellen Series – Post IV: Diageo’s 3rd Annual Release

The 3rd annual release came in 2003, and is still a 24 year old, this time distilled in 1979.

Photo Credit: potstill.org

Photo Credit: potstill.org

In 2003, alongside the Port Ellen 3rd release came a 50 year old Glenury Royal (it was priced then at £950), a 32 year old Oban, distilled in 1969 (one that I’ve been trying to get a taste of for quite a while), a 20 year old bourbon cask matured Talisker, the annual 12 year old Lagavulin, the second Brora – a 30 year old, a 29 year old Dalwhinnie and a 29 year old Cragganmore, a 28 year old Glen Ord and a 32 year old Glen Elgin. I’ll just mention that a 34 year old Dalwhinnie is coming back this year after an absence in the lineup.

The 3rd Release is somewhat more maritime than the 2nd.

Photo Credit: abbeywhisky.com

Photo Credit: abbeywhisky.com

Port Ellen 3rd Annual Release (2003), Vintage 1979, 24 Year old (57.3% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold, thin legs running off a ring.

Nose: On first sniff it seems saltier and more tart on the nose than the 2nd release. I get salt and honey, and the nose isn’t overly peaty. Slightly musty with sweetness. Water brings out dust and sweetness with a light red apple note. With time in the glass, the nose becomes very clean, displaying classic bourbon cask characteristics, with very little peat.

Palate: Not as sweet as the nose suggested it would be, and significantly spicier than the second release. Lots of chili pepper, and the sweetness is hidden underneath. The peat is very much alive on the palate, and the whisky is dry and has a chalky feel to it.

Linger: Spice and peat all over the mouth with some spice burn high in the throat. There is, again, very little sweetness in the linger.


Definitely more interesting than the 2nd Release, this one will appeal to you if you like your whisky on the less sweet side.

Being Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year’s day) I’d like to wish you a happy new year. May 5777 bring you much happiness and success, and my you find those elusive drams you’ve been after 🙂

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