Yesterday was unfortunately a depressing occasion for a number of reasons – least among these – a rancid 17 year old Dufftown. Life goes on as they say, and The Dramble won’t make do with ending the week on a downer, so we’ve dug out something a little bit special for our Friday review - the Rare Malts 1978 20 year old Port Ellen. Habitually described as a legendary bottling, United Distillers first Port Ellen release in 1998 introduced the demolished (1983) and overlooked distillery to a wider audience of whisky enthusiasts. This bottling and a 22 year old ‘sequel’ released two years later would prove to be the catalysts that would both unearth this near forgotten Islay whisky and also signal the start of its steady accent to legendary status.
All good things must come to an end – today we’re presenting the last review from our month-long exploration of 1978 and 40 year old whiskies. It’s been quite the rollercoaster – we’ve covered a few legendary bottlings, found several hidden gems and experienced a couple of outright disasters. The undertaking has required years of careful preparation and patience (I.E. ‘stashing things away’) and a careful watch on the bank balance (historic whisky can be a very serious mission). But, most of all, it has required the kindness of good whisky friends and a very (and always understanding!) generous wife.
This weekend gone, The Dramble headed over to the 3rd annual Harrow Whisky Festival, which takes place at the stunning Grim’s Dyke Hotel. The house was built between 1870 and 1872 for famous oil painter Frederick Goodall, but is best known for being the house that W.S Gilbert (of Gilbert and Sullivan) lived for the later part of his life – indeed, he died of a heart attack whilst giving a swimming lesson in the lake on the grounds of the house in 1923. Nowadays, the venue is a Best Western hotel, and well frequented by wedding parties and functions – it’s a lovely location (very close to Dramble HQ too) for a small, well organised whisky festival to kick of the year.