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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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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
27 year old Port Ellen distilled in 1982. This is rare whisky, aged in Bourbon casks and finished in ChÔteau D'Yquem sauternes barrels. This was bottled at the Bruichladdich distillery in 2009, and is...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
This is a single cask bottling of Port Ellen single malt Scotch whisky, matured in a refill butt from February 1983 until September 2010. Part of the Single Malts of Scotland range of independent...  More info
$727.90
A 27 year old Port Ellen from a single cask! This was distilled in the Winter 1983 and aged in cask 6000 (a refill hogshead) before bottling in Spring 2010 for the Provenance range.  More info
A 27 year old, single cask Port Ellen, need we say more? Well, just in case we'll add that it was distilled in Spring 1983 (just before the legendary distillery closed for good) and was bottled in...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
This stunning Port Ellen was distilled on the 2nd of February 1983 (just a few months before the distillery closed for good) and was aged in wine treated butt number 231 for 27 years before bottling...  More info
This stunning Port Ellen was distilled on the 2nd of February 1983 (just a few months before the distillery closed for good) and was aged in wine treated butt number 231 for 27 years before bottling...  More info
A 27 year old Port Ellen bottled under the Old Malt Cask label from Douglas Laing. It won't be around for ever, Port Ellen. And you'll miss it when it's gone so you will.  More info
A fabulous cask strength Port Ellen aged in a single refill butt (cask 517) for a whopping 27 years. Bottling on the 28th September 2010 by Signatory. A release of 608 bottles.  More info
A very rare, hotly anticipated Port Ellen. This is from the slew of Diageo 2009 Special Releases, this is the 9th release, distilled in 1979 and bottled at cask strength (part of an outturn of 5,916...  More info
An amazing single cask Port Ellen, the legendary defunct Islay distillery. This was distilled in November 1979 and aged for a massive 30 years before bottling by Douglas Laing in August 2010. A...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
A rare 30 year old bottling from the Douglas Laing 'Old Malt Cask' range.  More info
A single cask Port Ellen from the Port Ellen distillery in the town of Port Ellen. This 30 year old single cask release was matured in a refill hogshead, which yielded just 94 precious bottles. Part...  More info
$880.89
A marvellous and decidedly rare Port Ellen distilled in 1982 and aged for a massive 30 years in a single refill hogshead before bottling in 2012 for Douglas Laing's premium Old and Rare Platinum...  More info
$636.56
A marvellous and decidedly rare Port Ellen distilled in April 1982 and aged for a massive 30 years in a single refill hogshead before bottling in April 2012 for Douglas Laing's premium Old and Rare...  More info
$636.56
Douglas Laing properly go for it with their Old and Rare Platinum range, picking only the most ridiculously desirable whiskies to join the impressive selection. Speaking of ridiculously desirable, how...  More info
$1010.18
Ah, looky! I'd better go and open this window here so I can shout out of it that we have a new sooty, leathery Port Ellen from Douglas Laing in stock. They'll probably all be gone by the time I turn...  More info
$1228.48
Highly anticipated release from Diageo's now defunct Port Ellen distillery. In our humble opinion, perhaps not quite as good as last year's release, but nevertheless still quite special, and will sell...  More info
An independently bottled single malt Scotch whisky from the legendary Port Ellen distillery on the Island of Islay. It was distilled in June 1982 and bottled in March 2014 for the Mackillop's Choice...  More info
$933.05
Strictly One Per CustomerThis will sell out within 5 minutes of me putting the product live. It's a limited release of 2,988 bottles, aged for 32 years in refill American oak casks, and guess what...  More info
It’s a Port Ellen, it’s rare and everyone wants some but well… it’s easy to see why. Bottled from a mixture of ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks at 52.5%abv and with an impressive thirty-two years of...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (0.5/5)
$2313.13
STRICTLY 1 PER CUSTOMER

Ah, Port Ellen, how we love you. And by 'we' I don't just mean us at MoM towers, whisky fans around the world adore this legendary malt from an Islay distillery that shut...  More info
$2352.42
This is a fabulous old Port Ellen from Douglas Laing's stellar Old and Rare Platinum Selection. It was distilled in August 1977, some six years before the distillery shut its doors for good, and the...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$1282.38
Strictly 1 Per Customer

Part of the 2014 Diageo Special Releases, this 35 year old Port Ellen single malt Scotch whisky was matured in a combination of refill American oak and European oak casks. A...  More info
$3450.22
This single malt from the closed distillery of Port Ellen distilled in 1997 and bottled in 2012 for Douglas Laing's Old & Rare collection.  More info
$1161.80
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