Ellenstown 12 Year

Scotch Whisky Review #396: Ellenstown 12 Year

Image and Sample Credit to /u/dustbunna. His review can be found here.

Distillery: Unknown, rumored to be Allied Distillers-era Ardbeg.

Bottler: Marshall’s Whiskies.

Region: Islay.

Age: 12 Year.

ABV: 52.0% Cask Strength.

Price: Sample courtesy of /u/dustbunna.

Color: 0.2, Pale Straw. Non-Chill Filtered and Natural Color.

This review was done blind, the only hint was “peated”.


Nose: This is definitely peated. The nose just rolls out smoke notes at first. It’s notes of campfire smoke, complete from starting the fire and then it peters out like a campfire would eventually. Grilled lemons are the other note that comes through for me.

Palate: There’s a mild campfire smoke note along with a warm malt barley note at full strength. Not a ton else comes through. With water, those two notes still remain and then you get a citrus-y note. It’s like having a little bit of grilled salmon with lemon spritzed on top of it.

Finish: Medium in length. Peated malt, smoked fish, and a little dash of lemon juice is what comes through.


Guess: The hint was peated. It’s certainly from Islay. Given the strong campfire smoke notes, I was thinking this would be a Caol Ila. It seems a little young in age, so probably 6-10 years. It doesn’t have any heat at all and the flavors aren’t super strong so low ABV would be my guess, 40-43%.

Reveal: Ellenstown 12 Year. 52% ABV, Cask Strength.


Conclusion: I’ve never had Allied Distillers-era Ardbeg, at least not knowingly. Assuming this Ellenstown is actually Ardbeg from that era, this seems to suggest I would prefer this profile a lot more than I do the modern Ardbeg. For me, the profile was directionally correct with a bit of smoke, a bit of fruit, and a bit of maritime / grilled fish notes. It did feel like it didn’t quite deliver the necessary power behind those notes, but that might also just be because the Islay I had before this one was an incredibly powerful Bowmore. Quite tasty and whatever this actually turns out being, I’m glad to have had it.

Final Score: 78.


Scotch Whisky Review #396, Islay Review #65, Whisky Network Review #550


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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