Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky delved into its impressive and extensive archives to release this first-fill sherry cask 40-year-old single malt, which is a veritable time capsule of Port Ellen’s early 1980s releases. At 104.8 proof the liquid was matured in a European Oak ex-sherry butt, with the cask initially stored on Islay, until it was laid down to finish maturing in the vaults at Duncan Taylor’s HQ in Aberdeenshire in 2010. Each hand-finished decanter is sequentially numbered with a signed certificate of authenticity.
Nose: A classic sherried Islay. Full of treacle toffee and leather mixed with bright fruity notes of blackberries and strawberries drenched in cream. A touch of zesty citrus offsets the fruity sweetness, and some dark, waxy comb honey adds depth. Some intense maritime notes of sea spray combined with kombu kelp. Mineral touches of seashore pebbles emerge with time from underneath the sherried fruits.
Palate: Very true to the nose. Dark treacle toffee and more fruits, this time more cooked than fresh. Thick and chewy texture with roasted pecan nuts to the fore. The leathery, maritime notes persist with some warming spices of cloves and caraway. The peat comes over as a distant driftwood bonfire on a salt drenched seashore. A dark, smoky and fruity chutney balanced by a refreshing hint of spearmint. Wonderful balance with all elements in good equilibrium.
Finish: Long and seemingly everlasting. The dark bitter chocolate notes from the sherry cask persist to the last, along with some spicy toasted oak. The chewy toffeed fruits continue, but now are slightly drier than on the palate. The driftwood bonfire of the peat is now reduced to some smouldering embers. Again, the balance is perfect with all elements singing in harmony.