Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottler: Distiller
ABV: 56.2%
Score: 94 points

Port Ellen 2001 First Annual Release. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.This is the Port Ellen that started the frenzy we see today; Diageo’s first annual release from 2001 of a  22-year-old Port Ellen distilled in 1979 and bottled at cask strength. The nose is tart and fruity at first with notes of lemon pepper, subtle touches of peat smoke and dried fruits, with honey and butterscotch in the background adding complexity. The taste is oaky and astringent at first, then turns very spicy with notes of black pepper, driftwood smoke, butterscotch, and touches of dried fruits and herbal notes that are very subtle and light. The finish is long with spices that tickle the tongue and hints of grilled fruits and smoke. Excellent! (November, 2017)

Editor’s note: Thanks to Dr. Nick Morgan of Diageo for providing this bottle for the Port Ellen vertical tasting at the 2017 New Brunswick Spirits Festival.