Port Ellen is the lost jewel of the Islay crown. Closure in 1983 has enabled this distillery to receive a near mythical amount of love and respect. As stocks get thinner on the ground, prices get higher and higher. Originally a malt mill built in 1825, it was later converted to a distillery in 1833. Production flowed until 1929 when it was closed until 1966. It then resumed production until its final closure in 1983.
Iconic Port Ellen Expressions
First launched in 2001 with a release of only two bottles (the first Talisker 25 Year Old and the immortal Port Ellen First Release), Diageo have continued to release a new Special Releases Collection each October in which a official release Port Ellen was always included. It is quite common to see these "Special Releases" at auction, with prices increasing dramatically on Whisky Auctioneer in recent years. However, after Diageo announced plans to re-open the distillery in 2018, a Port Ellen has been missing from the release each year.
Since Diageo's announcement, Port Ellen has released their oldest expression available globally to date as the first in the new Port Ellen Untold Stories Series.
The most expensive Port Ellen to go under the hammer with Whisky Auctioneer is the Port Ellen 12 Year Old Queen’s Visit 1980 which broke auction records when sold for £50,000 in September 2018.
Perhaps the rarest official release is the Port Ellen Feis Ile 2008. 220 bottles were released for the Islay festival in 2008 at a cost of only £99, which now achieves in the region of £4000 at auction.