Port Ellen Distillery, which has been closed for over forty years, is set to reopen this March. Marking the occasion is the release of Port Ellen Gemini, a twin set of 44-year-old bottlings, making them the oldest single malt release directly from the distillery.
Master blender Craig Wilson shares: “Marking the return of this iconic distillery, and a new light in its future, Port Ellen Gemini is true taste of a legend reborn – a never before seen release of two unique and priceless expressions of a much-revered whisky, inspired by our rarest cask.”
The whiskies are fraternal twins, having been selected from 1978 European oak casks and split into two paths of maturation.
The first, Port Ellen Gemini Original, was left untouched to mature in reserve European oak butts. Of the release, whisky expert Charles Maclean comments: “The expression has classic Port Ellen character and its surprisingly high strength for its age lends vitality to both aroma and taste.”
Port Ellen Gemini Remnant, the second bottling, was finished using the Port Ellen remnant cask. The cask, which was saved when the distillery closed its doors in 1983, was recovered and reseasoned, and the use of which Maclean says has “markedly increased the flavour profile of this uniquely finished expression.”
The release of an original single malt from the iconic distillery is significant due to the incredibly rare and finite nature of Port Ellen’s liquid, which is highly prized by collectors. Port Ellen Gemini is set to be a centrepiece of the distillery guest experience when reopened, with more details expected to come.
Wilson adds: “Port Ellen Gemini invites whisky connoisseurs to compare and contrast a twin pair of 1978 Scotch whiskies, shared in its original form and finished expression. The finish is nothing short of historical: an extraordinary remnant cask that cradled three decades of Port Ellen spirit, now restored and revived, a worthy touch to this rare Scotch. It is a fitting tribute to the past and future as Port Ellen returns once again.”
Port Ellen Gemini is limited to just 274 sets of the two bottles, and will be available from mid-March, with enquiries open now through the Diageo private client team. For more information, visit the Diageo website.