Scotch Whisky Review #396: Ellenstown 12 Year
Distillery: Unknown, rumored to be Allied Distillers-era Ardbeg.
Bottler: Marshall’s Whiskies.
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
- 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.