The Revivalist movement in premium scotch whisky continues with the resurrection of the lost Islay distillery of Port Ellen. Scotch whisky company Hunter Laing & Co. has introduced The Eidolon bottling series featuring three expressions from Port Ellen distilled in 1983, shortly before the distillery closed. Only 650 bottles are available to purchase.
The series’ first release, a 36-year-old whisky, has been bottled at a cask strength of 53.5% ABV without artificial coloring or chill-filtration. It will be available at specially selected whisky stores worldwide and on the Ardnahoe Distillery website.
Family-owned distiller, blender and bottler Hunter Laing & Co. has built a reputation for its rare aged whiskies. Founder Stewart Laing’s father was a fan of Port Ellen Distillery while it was in operation: “We are pleased to offer Islay enthusiasts this exceptional malt whisky in our new Eidolon presentation, which will only feature whiskies from Port Ellen Distillery. It is without a doubt a whisky of contrast. A testament to historic wisdom and a celebration of modern whisky expertise.
“The Eidolon casks were carefully set aside some years ago for additional ageing and we now believe they have reached the peak of their complexity and character.”
Brothers Scott adds: “We have spent a great deal of time in designing the presentation and we believe that it does justice to the quality and rarity of the whisky inside.
The Eidolon series takes its name from ancient Greek word for something memorable from history.
Established in 1825 by A K Mackay and Co., under John Ramsay is Port Ellen was the first distillery to trade with North America in 1848. Ramsay secured exported in larger casks and stored the casks in bonded warehouses prior to export. He helped Robert Stein and Aeneas Coffey fine-tune their continuous stills and established at the Islay to Glasgow steamboat service, Port Ellen was closed in 1983, but the whisky made in the years between its re-opening and final closure has acquired a reputation as some of the finest.
Following two outstandingly successful Rare Malt bottlings in 1998 and 2000, Diageo has released an official bottling of Port Ellen every year since 2001. Whisky Exchange offers a range of much-coveted Port Ellen whisky starting from around $1400. A 1979 Port Ellen 40-year old rogue cask is priced at $8744 while a 1983 32-year old is $3,300.