This was an unexpected dram.
We hiked to the world-renown Park Ave Liquors near the Grand Central train station to see if their SMS selection was as vast as advertised. A simple inquiry turned into their entire Port Ellen collection being lined up in front of me.
We're looking at about $2000 worth of whisky here. After engaging one of their spirit buyers with some friendly whisky talk, he brandished an open bottle of an unusual Port Ellen.
From what I gathered, a Park Ave spirit buyer hand selected a cask of Port Ellen from Douglas Laing's cache (a well respected Independent Bottler of Scotch whisky). It was presented to the public at a recent Whisky Live event in NYC as a Park Ave/Douglas Laing bottling. This is when the spirit buyer offered me a dram... who could resist?
This is from memory since I did not have my notes on me. The dram was poured into a small plastic cup.
A: Impossible to tell from the cup. From the bottle, it appears to be richly amber. This is from the heavy sherry influence.
N: A heavy dose of sherry (more than the Signatory bottlings I've sampled) and peat. Strong alcohol vapors. Amazingly fresh for any whisky aged 24yrs.
T: Sweet, rich, and peaty. All the usual Islay cues of the sea without the hints of age. Maybe not terribly complex, but do keep in mind I was drinking it out of a plastic cup, did not add water, and didn't have the luxury of time to allow it to reach its full potential. Bizarrely enough, it reminded me of the recently reviewed Lagavulin 12yr (a whisky half its age) than any Port Ellen I've had before.
Park Avenue Liquor, you employ gentlemen and real class acts. You'll hear from me when I finally decide on a Port Ellen.