Port Ellen Distillery Resumes Operations After Four Decades

by Kaia

Iconic Islay Establishment Reopens with Unveiling of £185 Million Revamp


Port Ellen, once shrouded in silence for forty years, broke its long hiatus today, March 19th, as it officially reopened its doors. Parent company Diageo has injected £185 million (US$235 million) into the restoration of this Islay-based distillery, alongside the revival of Brora, and enhancements to the group’s Scotch whisky visitor experiences.


Ewan Andrew, Diageo’s President of Global Supply Chain and Procurement, and Chief Sustainability Officer, presided over the reopening ceremony, heralding it as a pivotal moment for both Diageo and the Scotch whisky industry.


Andrew remarked, “This marks a significant milestone for Diageo and the Scotch whisky sector. Port Ellen is deeply ingrained in the essence of Islay and its people, yet its name reverberates globally as a symbol of top-tier single malt Scotch whisky.”


He continued, “Port Ellen boasts a rich legacy of innovation and experimentation, and we remain faithful to this heritage with the rebirth of Port Ellen. While rooted in tradition, the revitalized distillery stands poised to blaze new trails in the realm of Scotch whisky.”

A Glimpse Inside the State-of-the-Art Facility

The refurbished distillery features a state-of-the-art still house offering panoramic views of the Islay coastline, extending across the bay to the Carraig Fhada lighthouse.

At the heart of the still house lie two sets of copper pot stills. The first, dubbed The Phoenix Stills, mirror the original Port Ellen stills, producing the signature smoky-style spirit the brand is renowned for.

The second set, known as The Experimental Stills, embark on uncharted territories in distillation precision, surpassing conventional standards in Scotch whisky production.

Equipped with a 10-part spirit safe, unlike the typical three-part safes found in most distilleries, the Experimental Stills exemplify Port Ellen’s commitment to innovation.

Additionally, the distillery boasts an onsite laboratory staffed with a dedicated technician tasked with analyzing and cataloging the new experimental whiskies crafted on-site.

Aimée Morrison, Port Ellen’s Master Blender, expressed, “Port Ellen will be synonymous with pushing boundaries, leveraging our onsite laboratory for scientific exploration to gain deeper insights into this Islay malt.”

She added, “Our endeavor is to uphold Port Ellen’s unwavering quality, craft whiskies for the future, and seize the remarkable opportunity to unravel the mysteries of smoke.”

To commemorate the distillery’s revival, Port Ellen Gemini, comprising two 44-year-old Scotch whiskies, has been unveiled and is now available for purchase, marking a momentous occasion in the annals of whisky history.



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