After two years of absence, Whisky Live Israel (Tel-Aviv) is back, and to celebrate the occasion, Tomer Goren (who’s also organizing the event), has bottled a unique single cask Port Ellen for the Israeli Market. There are only a few IB bottled for Israel, and this one is by far the most interesting and unique to date. The whisky was distilled in 1979 and bottled in 2017 after having spent 37 years in a Refill Sherry Hogshead yielding only 241 bottles at 44.8% cask strength.
Tomer has released the whisky for a very competitive price (given the fact that it’s a Port Ellen), and many whisky and PE enthusiasts have shown great interest in the bottling (yours truly got quite a lot of inquiries about it online). At any rate, the bottles are going on sale next week at Whisky Live for 3,000 ILS ($869), and some were already sold at pre-sale for a bit less. A port Ellen in a sherry cask from 1979 is always intriguing, and i was really looking forward to tasting it (and waited a bit since i caught a cold..)
OK, let’s get to it!
Port Ellen 1979 37 Years Old / Whisky Live Tel-Aviv 2018 ,44.8%
Nose: Quite shy at first, gentle and layered with some ‘green’ peat , farmyard notes, that subside to give way to orchard fruit. There are also some red berries, and a hint of grass. There’s a nice sweet sherried feel to it, and the light peat ashes are well-integrated. a second wave of aromas brings a lovely honeyed sweetness, and after some time there’s also a nice sweet-ashy feel to it. very good nose, quite light but complex.
Palate: Ah, the palate is indeed more powerful, the peat is much more pronounced, with a nice balance of ashy-sweet notes, light note of camphor, mint and quite some wood, with a lot of wood spice such as Cinnamon,clove, white pepper , and sweet smoke, and dark chocolate sprinkled with cinnamon, there’s a bitter note with more pepper and ash, and charred wood.
Finish: Long , and quite ashy with the honeyed sweetness, sherry in the background, dry, with dark chocolate, more pepper, ash, and some salt.
This is an excellent whisky, while the nose is complex but gentle, the palate displays a robust and peaty / sweet / ashy / fruit profile, and the sherry combination works well. The whisky is not ‘too woody’ in spite of spending quite a bit of time, but it’s got enough wood to support the sweet and peaty notes. Is it the best PE I’ve ever had? Probably not, but It’s one hell of a whisky, and at this price, it’s really a whisky you can ‘afford’ to drink (so to speak), and frankly you should. I bet most bottles are going to stay closed, but those who open them are in for a treat. It’s a lovely drop, and worth your while especially if you’re a local, as not many such bottles are put on sale locally in Israel.