Reviewed on Sun 14 Feb, 2016
Is it a good Islay, 15yr(ish) old whisky? Yes, definitely. Is it worth the astronomical prices in the secondary market? Nope.
First of all, let me say this is the first time I have tried Port Ellen at all. I was lucky enough to find this mini for under £20 - considering a normal sized bottle of this stuff fetches around £899 on the retail market I consider that a decent buy. The mini doesn't actually state the age but considering this labelling came out in both 15 and 16 year old versions, and the label looks closer to the 15, then I'm going with that as the age.
Anyway, whether this is a "good" or "bad" Port Ellen, I don't really know. I'm reviewing this on the second tasting, a week after I bought it and without any preconceived notions about what it should be like... just that everyone wants it so it must be good! Right?
On the nose: Medium peat, and some not unpleasant soapy smells. Nice soap. Maybe it's mothballs? There's very little fruit, and very little sweetness. What sweetness there is seems kind of acidic, kind of like a pomelo. It's very Islay.
The taste: Like chewing on a mound of peat. It's very "meaty". Peaty meaty. I felt a bit like a cow chomping on a mound of hay. There's a bit of citrus there again and aniseed. It's a bit one-note but OK if you like that sort of thing.
The finish: Long, smokey and lingering. The finish does go on forever.
Personally... I'm in two minds about this. Is it a good Islay, 15yr(ish) old whisky? Yes, definitely. Is it worth the astronomical prices in the secondary market? Nope. That said, if you can find a mini of this go right ahead - £20 won't break the bank and you'll be drinking from a distillery that has long been consigned to history. If you're thinking about dropping £800+ on a full bottle though, don't.
Personal Rating: 85/100
Value for Money: 75/100
Overall Rating: 83.6/100