We had been promised a taste of all of the 2016 Special Releases, but owing to some double booking or some such by our host, only the Port Ellen was on hand. This did have the unlooked for - but very much appreciated - consequence that we all got whisky cocktails for free. To use the vernacular, result.
The Port Ellen, at 37 years old, smelt surprisingly peaty. Fairly intense fruity salt dominated, but there was a load of underlying peat, and behind all that some elegant oak perfume. All in all the nose was very broad and direct, like a chunk of overly salty fudge.
Without water the palate was nippy. I found grass, boiled sweets, fusty old oak and salty malt, but very little earthy peat. Water improved this dram immensely, making it soft, rounded, and even more salty. It was remarkable just how salty it was without being peaty or smoky.
I've tasted Port Ellen a handful of times, and always enjoyed it. This dram was excellent, although of course I didn't pay for it (and wouldn't, at the asking price). It did seem surprisingly peaty for a 37 year old, which rather made me wonder if the whisky was racked into freshly emptied Caol Ila or Lagavulin casks at some point. I don't suppose I'll ever find out.