Long gone is the time when Port Ellen was a sleeper for insiders, only. Nowadays it ranks among Islay’s superstars, good in its youth but also a great ager, as versatile as peaty whisky can get. Prices have taken off by now and will increase further, I guess, but there are still great PE finds out there. The Reifferscheid release, for example, was available at a price point of around 200 Euro recently and worth every penny. Here is my review. The final score was shared by many other connoisseurs in a tasting.
Port Ellen 2.2.1983 – 4.2011 Reifferscheid ‚Romantic Rhine Collection‘, Cask 229, 180 btl., 54,3%
Comment: This one has a touch of everything somehow and belongs to the clean side. Slightly farmyardy, malty and spicy altogether at first whiff. Despite the ‚peat-oil-tire-sulphur combo‘ and some soot, ropes and iodine, this Port Ellen has an elegant side to it. Maybe it is the dash of lemon and a pinch of sea salt/brine in the background that render this nice zestiness as a counterpart to the powerful Islay aromas. In addition to that, we detected milk coffee, leather and white pepper in the nose. On the palate the dram focuses way more on farmyardy and peaty aromas as suggested before. A discrete saltiness leads into the eternal flinty and sooty finish. Simply a great whisky with minor cask influence. I got me a bottle, what else can I say.
By the way, its sister cask #230 by Old Bothwell is equally as great and The Whiskyman release (Serge: 93) came from identical sources. I think Ruben scored it at 92 as well. I can confirm and recommend.