Few distilleries closed or otherwise have a more ardent following than Port Ellen. Drinkers, collectors and speculators scramble to buy the best bottlings, meaning few of the more revered releases remain on shelves for long. The official bottlings in Diageo’s annual “Special Releases” collection are particularly good examples, with last year’s 11th release disappearing as soon as it was listed on websites or stocked on specialist’s shelves. This caused much irritation among retailers who failed to get the allocation they had hoped for and, as you might expect, that particular bottling is now being sold for considerable profits on the auction market.
Between the notable retail prices, feverish purchasing and speculating, the official releases are less than accessible for the majority of whisky fans. This, happily, leads us to the independent bottlers as even with such a following Port Ellen remain one of the best represented of all closed distilleries. It’s true that things seem to be slowing and the stock is obviously finite but, for now at least, retailers have a whole range of single cask bottlings on offer and with Port Ellen whiskies being particularly consistent, there are many excellent casks amongst them.