We all know by know how great Port Ellen can be. They age very well but also rock in their youth although it is getting harder and harder to obtain good bottles from that era. Today I want to review a legendary young release by James MacArthur which was scored 96 by a certain other Maniac by the name of Serge V. – who rated the sherried sister release even higher: at 98!
Port Ellen 12 y.o. James MacArthur ‚Fine Malt Selection‘ 62,7% (released around 1985)
Comment: Holy yodeling Wolpertinger! Right from the start this intense yet balanced bottling has everything that makes (young) Port Ellen great – ahh, this maltiness in an antiseptic surrounding, just awesome. It is not as pale as I would have expected (hard to see through the green glass). The lead notes aside from the ones mentioned are soot, glowing embers, dirty tires,
ropes and big peat but there also are tar, resin, bonfire smoke, herbs, salt, brine, pepper, green apples, lemons, diesel, honey, heather and sponge cake. A true monster in the nose. The palate shows brutal power and concentration with tingling spice (salt, chili), the aromas from above, sulphur and iodine. Needless to add that the finish is endless in length and complexity. What I personally adore is that it is becoming even sootier in the end. In a nutshell, one of the finest peat monsters I know.