This is, I’m pretty sure, the youngest Port Ellen I’ve had (this 21 yo is the youngest I’ve previously reviewed). This was released in 2000, one year before the first annual release; in other words, before Port Ellen was quite Port Ellen. As you may be tired of being told (and I’m sure I’ve said it many times before myself), Port Ellen was a workhorse distillery when it was operational and almost no single malt version was released until the the mid-late 1980s (after it had closed) and it wasn’t until the late 1990s and really the early 2000s that it became widely known and it’s now iconic reputation sealed. So someone who bought this bottle when it was first released probably did not pay very much more for it than they would have for whisky of similar age from open distilleries and would probably have thought you were kidding if you’d told them then that 15 years later the entry-level price for Port Ellen would be well north of $500.
Every year right around this time Diageo provide some public services by testing the state of the whisky bubble and the emotional state of whisky geeks everywhere, while simultaneously providing some high concept comedy to ease our strain in these troubled times. Herewith an annotated guide to the Diageo Special Releases for 2014.
Let us begin with the two categories that make the most sense. The prices listed are the recommended retail prices that are posted in the UK now—they’re usually lower in the US, and the sales situation is also usually different in the US (things hang around longer than they do in the UK or EU). Continue reading