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Port Ellen

The Port Ellen distillery was founded in 1825 by Alexander Ker Mackay. The distillery lies not far from the centre of its namesake town, Islay’s main port, and draws its waters from the Leorin Lochs. John Ramsay, a local Member of Parliament, acquired the distillery after Mackay went into bankruptcy. Ramsay was a leader in his field and recognised the opportunities that exportation to America could offer.

The Port Ellen whisky distillery remained in Ramsay family hands until 1920, when John Dewar & Sons and James Buchanan & Co purchased it, merging with Distillers Company Limited five years later. In 1930, the Port Ellen distillery was transferred to Scottish Malt Distillers. The distillery had ceased whisky production a year prior, but continued to malt barley. Indeed, to this day the maltings at Port Ellen supply most of the distilleries on Islay as well as the Isle of Jura distillery.

A new maltings was installed in 1973, a few years after the distillery reopened in 1966. In 1967, further stills were installed and the distillery underwent extensive renovations. During the 1980s the Scotch whisky market became saturated and, regrettably, Port Ellen did not survive - the stills fell silent in May of 1983. There have been both independent releases as well as a handful of official bottlings.

Port Ellen Whisky Distillery

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About Port Ellen Whisky Distillery

Distillery Founded

1825

Distillery Owner

Diageo

Distillery Status

Dismantled

Distillery Address

Port Ellen, Islay, Argyll

1825

Alexander Kerr Mackay assisted by Walter Campbell founds the distillery. Mackay runs into financial troubles after a few months and his three relatives John Morrison, Patrick Thomson and George Maclennan take over.

1833

John Ramsay, a cousin to John Morrison, comes from Glasgow to take over.

1836

Ramsay is granted a lease on the distillery from the Laird of Islay.

1892

Ramsay dies and the distillery is inherited by his widow, Lucy.

1906

Lucy Ramsay dies and her son Captain Iain Ramsay takes over.

1920

Iain Ramsay sells to Buchanan-Dewar who transfers the administration to the company Port Ellen Distillery Co. Ltd.

1925

Buchanan-Dewar joins Distillers Company Limited (DCL).

1929

No production.

1930

Administration is transferred to Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD) and the distillery is mothballed.

1967

In production again after reconstruction and doubling of the number of stills from two to four.

1973

A large drum maltings is installed.

1980

Queen Elisabeth visits the distillery and a commemorative special bottling is made.

1983

The distillery is mothballed.

1987

The distillery closes permanently but the maltings continue to deliver malt to all Islay distilleries.

1998

Port Ellen 1978 (20 years) is released as a Rare Malt.

2000

Port Ellen 1978 (22 years) is released as a Rare Malt.

2001

Port Ellen cask strength first edition is released.

Reproduced from the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2009 with the kind permission of Mr Ingvar Ronde

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STRICTLY 1 PER CUSTOMER

It's here. Phone people. Write letters. Open up windows and shout at things. Let the things know that it's here. But what is it? Batch 5 of Port Ellen single malt Scotch...  More info
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$920.24
This is a classic Rare Malts bottling of single malt Scotch whisky from the infamous, though sadly closed, Port Ellen distillery on Islay. Matured for 20 years after being distilled in 1978, it was...  More info
$1411.97
Saying that Port Ellen whisky is sought-after is like saying jam is pretty good on toast - a massive understatement! The distillery on Islay closed in 1983, to the disappointment of many who loved...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$2894.96
A Directors' Cut bottling from Douglas Laing of Port Ellen single malt. Yes, that Port Ellen, the one on Islay that was closed in the '80s and has remained closed ever since. Their stocks of superbly...  More info
$1427.54
This whisky is from the long-since closed distillery of Port Ellen and despite a whole bunch of distilleries sadly closing in the early 1980s Port Ellen remains one of the most highly regarded...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
This is the second batch of the utterly beguiling Port Ellen from That Boutique-y Whisky Company. It's a rich, smouldering, citrusy gem from what is perhaps Scotland's most legendary distillery, and...  More info
STRICTLY 1 PER CUSTOMER

Boom! Batch 4 of That Boutique-y Whisky Company's Port Ellen has landed!

After closing its doors in 1983 Port Ellen has become perhaps the most legendary whisky...  More info
Port Ellen alert! Port Ellen alert! That's right, we've got a Gordon & MacPhail bottling of single malt from the closed distillery on Islay, distilled in 1979, matured in refill Sherry butts and...  More info
$1010.11
To say bottlings of Port Ellen are sought after is just a bit of an understatement. While the distillery remains silent, and has done since 1983, releases like this rare Gordon & MacPahil Connoisseurs...  More info
$815.64
This is a previous Gordon & MacPhail bottling of Port Ellen. The Port Ellen distillery closed in 1983 and today only the maltings remain in use. This Port Ellen was bottled in 2001 and offers a rare...  More info
$480.92
A complex, rich single malt, bottled by Gordon and MacPhail. Port Ellen has become a legendary distillery, known for its stunning peaty flavours.  More info
$226.33
Distilled in 1982 and aged for 22 years in refill sherry butts before bottling in 2004 by Gordon and MacPhail. Port Ellen has become a legendary distillery.  More info
A cask strength, very rare Port Ellen. This was distilled in 1978 and matured for 22 years before bottling as part of the Rare Malts range.  More info
Today Port Ellen is a whisky legend, thanks to a myriad of reasons in the early 1980s the distillery was closed. However, this was no judgement on its character or of it's quality, and when the...  More info
$2200.93
24 year old single malt Scotch whisky from the legendary Port Ellen distillery, which sadly has been closed since 1983. This Islay whisky was distilled in March 1978, matured in a single Sherry butt...  More info
$925.60
Immensely rare and collectible (not to mention delicious), Port Ellen single malt is legendary amongst whisky enthusiasts. The distillery on Islay was closed in the 1980s and has remained as such ever...  More info
$1537.40
This was distilled at the Port Ellen distillery on the 16th November 1979. It was then aged for 24 years in sherry butt #6773 before bottling at cask-strength in October 2004. This is a release of...  More info
$801.66
Distilled at Port Ellen distillery on Islay in 1982, this Old Bothwell single cask release comes from one of the most sought after distilleries of all time.

When Diageo sought to shut down one of...  More info
$667.22
A 20cl Advance Sample from Douglas Laing. This was distilled at the Port Ellen distillery in November 1982 and aged for 25 years in sherry butt number 4673. It was bottled in September 2008.  More info
A stunning 26 year old from the Port Ellen distillery - one of the most legendary distilleries in the world. This was distilled in February 1982 and aged for 26 years in sherry butt number 4447 before...  More info
A single cask Port Ellen! This was distilled on the 2nd March 1983 and matured for 26 years in a wine treated butt, which was cask number 232, before bottling on the 10th November 2009. A release of...  More info
This was distilled not long before the Port Ellen distillery closed for good. Bottled in August 2009 by Douglas Laing, there are 610 bottles of this, from refill butt number 5441.  More info
A 26 year old from perhaps Islay's most legendary distillery, Port Ellen. This was distilled in Spring 1983 (just a few months before the distillery was shut down permenantly), and it was aged in...  More info
A very mature, 27 year old Port Ellen. Perhaps the most legendary distilleries of them all, though now defunct. Just 396 bottles of this were released, a very rare Douglas Laing bottling. Serge from...  More info
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