Magnus Fagerström
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25 Port Ellen in one day

During autumn 2012 I decided it was time to organize a big Port Ellen tasting. The first 11 releases (number 11 was coming to Systembolaget in December) had to be included of course and then I needed to complete them with other suitable bottles. I was lucky as a big collector of the Douglas Laing Platinum serie was moving abroad and wanted to sell his whole collection. I couldn't afford a collection like that, but I put him in contact with some friends that I thought could be interested and they did buy the collection. They were kind enough to sell some of the bottles and I got to buy a lot of the Port Ellen bottles. I already had a few DLP Port Ellen and all of a sudden we had an amazing line-up with the first 11 releases and 14 different Douglas Laing Platinum!

Despite the high price of 2500 SEK (which if you look at it a few years later actually was really cheap) per person the tasting was fully boooked very quickly. No wthe participants had to wait a few months for it to be March 12 of 2012, so they could travel to Påarp and an epic Port Ellen tasting. Because of the price of the bottles and the amount of whiskies to be tasted I served 1,5 cl of each, so 40 people attended and another 6 got their tasting as samples.

my friends Hasse and Hasse are both Port Ellen collectors and they thought 25 Port Ellen in one day was too little, so they came early and helped getting everything ready.  Then we had a pre-tasting with another 7 whiskies so we actually tasted 32 different Port Ellen in one day!

We started the tasting at 1 pm this time as I wanted to have a little extra time for the first flight. We tasted all the 11 annual releases in that first flight! It was an impressive sight and a fantastic smell in the room when we had poured the 440 glasses with Port Ellen.

I stand in queue at Systembolaget on December 1st and I was there 3 hours before opening. The waiting time was worth it as I could buy 4 bottles of Port Ellen 11th release and also 3 bottles of Brora Annual Release 2011!
It was a lot of fun to be able to try all the 11 releases at the same time. For me it stood clear that the odd numbers are usually a little better than the even ones. And the latest ones, that I hadn't tried so often as the early ones, was really good. Release number 7 was the one that I held the highest with 92 points, but number 10 came close behinds on 91,5points. Number 5, 9 and 11 all got 91 points from me. The most expensive one today, release number 1,  was the one that was the least good, but that doesn't mean it's a bad whisky, but I only gave it 88 points this day. Good, but not as good as the others.


After this first big flight we needed some food and coffee and an hour later we were ready for flight number 2.
Now7 Douglas Laing Platinum were waiting for us to try them. Accordning to Hans Ekström there is only 25 different Port Ellen DLP so we actually tried more than half of what exists this day. 2 of the bottles were somewhat extraspecial, one bottling for Potstill in Austria and one for World Duty Free. 4 bourbonmatured ones and 3 sherrymatured whiskies were in the flight and it was not surprising that a sherry one was the winner, the 1978-2006, 28 years old, 212 bottles, 56,1%, I gave it 92 points but it had some tough competition in the 1978-2006, 27 years old, 396 bottles, sherry, 54,8% and the 1978-2009, 30 years old, 370 bottles, 52,5%. Both scored 91 points in my book.

After 18 cask strength whiskies you need food and coffee so it was time to put out the buffet.

The lastflight was again 7 different DLP and this flight was even more special than the last one. This flight also had a special bottling for Potstill in Austria but this time we had 3 different ones for World Duty Free!
The quality was a little bit lower in this flight, or had we been spoiled during the day? For me there were three 88-points and two 89-points in this flight, but the winner scored 92 points, 1982-2007, 25 years old, cask 3478, sherry, 512 bottles, DLP for Potstill, 57,5% and the runner-up got 90 points, 1982-2007, 25 years old, 226 bottles, 54,8%.

9 hours of Port Ellen tasting was done and the participants walked home with huge smiles on their faces. A few of us stayed on to finish off the 7 Port Ellen we had started the day with.

Flight 1:
Port Ellen, 1st relase, 6000 btls, 22år, 1979-2001, OB, 56,2%
Port Ellen, 2nd release, 12000 btls, 24 år, 1978-2002, OB, 59,35%
Port Ellen, 3rd release, 9000 btls, 24 år, 1979-2003, OB, 57,3%
Port Ellen, 4th release, 5100 btls, 25 år, 1978-2004, OB, 56,2%
Port Ellen, 5th release, 5280 btls, 25 år, 1979-2005, OB, 57,4%
Port Ellen, 6th release, 4560 btls, 27 år, 1978-2006, OB, 54,2%
Port Ellen, 7th release, 5278 btls, 28 år, 1979-2007, OB, 53,8%
Port Ellen, 8th release, 6618 btls, 29 år, 1978-2008, OB, 55,3%
Port Ellen, 9th release, 5916 btls, 30 år, 1979-2009, OB, 57,7%
Port Ellen, 10th release, 3000 btls, 31 år, 1978-2010, OB, 54,6%
Port Ellen, 11th release, 2988 btls, 32 år, 1979-2011, OB, 53,9%

Flight 2:
Port Ellen 30 år, 1978-2009, 370 btls, Douglas Laing Platinum, 52,5%
Port Ellen 25 år, 1979-2005, Cask 669, 302 btls, DLP for Potstill, 57,1%
Port Ellen 27 år, 1979-2007, 258 btls, Douglas Laing Platinum, 57,1%
Port Ellen 28 år,  1979-2008, 266 btls, DLP for World Duty Free, 53,9%
Port Ellen 23 år, 1982-2005, 121 btls, sherry cask, Douglas Laing Platinum, 55,1%
Port Ellen 27 år, 1978-2006, 396 btls, sherry cask, Douglas Laing Platinum, 54,8%
Port Ellen 28 år, 1978-2006, 212 btls, sherry cask, Douglas Laing Platinum, 56,1%

Flight 3:
Port Ellen 25 år, 1982-2008, 300 btls, Douglas Laing Platinum, 57,7%
Port Ellen 25 år, 1982-2007, 226 btls, Douglas Laing Platinum, 54,8%
Port Ellen 29 år, 1979-2009, 270 btls, DLP for World Duty Free, 53,2%
Port Ellen 29 år, 1979-2009, 261 btls, DLP for World Duty Free, 53,8%
Port Ellen 30 år, 1979-2009, 270 btls, DLP for World Duty Free, 53,3%
Port Ellen 30 år, 1979-2010, 217 btls, Douglas Laing Platinum, 52,6%
Port Ellen 25 år, 1982-2007, Cask 3478, 512 btls, sherry cask,DLP for Potstill, 57,5%