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Tasting notes for Port Ellen 16 year old 1981/1997, Cadenhead Bottling

Cadenhead bottling
62.1% a.b.v.

A staggeringly complex bottling. At cask strength, the body is mouthcoating and astringent, warm, powerful, and oily. The nose shows seaweed, peat, fireplace, cinnamon stick, and a definite Islay character. A dash of water softens the nose and brings out wet wood, like one might find at a sauna or ofuro, overripe Bosc pear, and fresh warm baked goods (cinnamon rolls or banana bread, perhaps.) The palate is salty and medicinal with buckwheat and sweet/sour fermented notes. The finish contains wood mulching chips, hops, medicine tablet, chlorinated water, copper penny, and hints of burnt garlic; it is also very sour. Further dilution softens nose even more, brings out aromas of a florist’s shop and decomposing kelp. Palate becomes very sweet, as one would associate with rot. Notes of rotting tree trunk emerge in the finish. Diluted to table strength, the palate becomes less sweet, more sour, and shows mellow overripe sourdough starter. The finish develops flavors of water purification tablets, charcoal lighter fluid, and more copper. A fantastically complex and intriguing bottle. I find it best either with a dash of water or diluted to table strength; the intermediate concentrations are not as rewarding. I would recommend this bottling.

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