The 5th release is the third 1979 vintage in the series, with the 1st release presenting a 22 year old, the 3rd release (reviewed here) with a 24 year old and now the 5th with a 25 year old. This annual alternation between the 1979 and 1978 vintage goes on upto, and through, the 11th release, with six 1979 expressions and five 1978 ones. Then, however, another 1979 appeared for the 12th release, and 1978 appeared again for both the 13th and 14 release. Now the 15th release skips forward to the year of doom, 1983.
Should there still be any remaining stocks of 1978 whisky, if it makes a return, it will be at least 36 years old. There have been quite a few older whiskies bottled in the Special Releases range, so no special worries there.
Port Ellen 5th Annual Release (2005), Vintage 1979, 25 Year old (57.4% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Gold, there’s quite a bit of residue, with droplets all over the glass.
Nose: Sweet and distant honey. The peat is completely subdued. Green leaves and a feinty, plastic likenote. Water strengthens the honey notes with some smoking meat notes developing.
Palate: Fizzy peat, pepper, bitter citrus with some grapefruit. The palate on this release is pretty balanced, and is probably the most balanced of the releases I’ve had so far.
Linger: Peaty/smoky all around the mouth, some tangyness inside the cheeks and spice up high in the throat. Sweetness on the tongue lingers on after the peat.
This is the most balanced of the four expressions I’ve had this far in the tasting flight. It’s sweeter, less spicy and not chalky, and is – thus – probably the one that will suit most pallets.