There's also a Brora and Rosebank, who, like Port Ellen, are a part of Diageo's closed distilleries portfolio with the Rosebank being the 'cheapest' one at 'only £300/€380/$475 and somewhat surprising to me - guess even a closed lowland distillery aren't praised that much by Diageo.
This year, Diageo has also managed to squeeze in a NAS Clynelish at an eye-watering £500/€635/$800 !! Oh, what happy whisky madness we're seeing again this year!! (irony intended).
At the other end of range we're seeing a Caol Ila 15yo unpeated and a Lagavulin 12yo at £75/€95/$120 and £80/€100/$125 which is probably what whisky like this costs these days, so not much argument.
The sad thing is that even the high end bottles will most likely sell out in a flash and I'm betting retailers are already getting their inboxes swamped with people wanting to reserve bottles. These bottles, except for a couple of them, are now aimed completely at the collectors market, which is a shame as, as much as I hate to admit it, most Diageo distilleries make some very good whisky...
Have I bought expensive whiskies before? yes, I have... but can I be tempted to empty my bank account and buy the whisky equivalent of an Etruscan vase? No! Would I maybe buy the Caol Ila or Lagavulin? yes, for a tasting maybe... but that's it!
Bottom line is that this is just getting ridiculous and the prices are certainly amounting to much more than production costs, maturation/storage, bottling and a healthy profit on top of that.
After the rant above let's try some whisky from one of the distilleries that's a part of the annual special release range. Even though this wasn't cheap, it's still only about 2/3rds of the cost of the annual release...
Rosebank 1991 25.67 (01.07.1991) 22yo 'Dame Nellie Melba singing summer songs' 53,4%, Refill ex-bourbon barrel, 190 bottles, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Colour is pale straw
Vanilla, floral (lilies and carnations, maybe?) wet grains/malt, grassy oranges and grapefruit and hints of yeast and some herbal notes I'm not able to identify
Grassy arrival turning on to honey, barley sugar, raspberry, apple, a good hit of ginger and some pear and apple, the finish gives a good leafy and vanilla notes but turns into a bit bitter and spicy oak - especially with water...
A nice Rosebank, but must admit I've had better... think this has been in a relatively inactive cask which managed to produce a fairly straight forward dram after 22 years... still feeling the spirit's maybe a little hot too? Anyway, it's far from a bad dram and it still deserves a very respectable