You can walk, cycle or drive through the site of Port Ellen Distillery on the road to the Oa, between the warehouses and what reains of the other buildings - principally the pagoda topped kilns.
Established by AK Mackay in 1825, by 1836 it was in the hands of John Ramsay, a relative of Mackay. Port Ellen was the first distillery to export single malt whisky to North America, it was also the first to install a spirit safe. Ramsay also helped Robert Stein and Andreas Coffey develop their continuous stills - at Port Ellen.
Despite all these pioneering efforts, and it's reputation today, Port Ellen Distillery was first closed in 1929 as a result of the slump in world production of whisky associated with American prohibition. It had remained in the Ramsay family until 1920 when it was acquire by John Dewars, who subsequently became part of the Distillers Company Limited - a predecessor of Diageo.
By 1967 when production restarted the demand for whisky had increased to such a state that an additional two stills were built. But the next slump proved too much for Port Ellen, and it closed again this time for good in 1983. The bold PORT ELLEN legend on the warehouses, and the maltings built next to the distillery in 1973 still dominate Kilnaughton Bay.
Malt Madness, Wikipedia, WhiskyMerchants.co.uk
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Nearby: Bowmore Laphroaig Lagavulin
Port Ellen Distillery is about a half a mile north of Port Ellen.
Port Ellen is one of the two ports on Islay served by CalMac ferry from Kennacraig (timetable Winter Summer). Getting to Kennacraig (see Islay page)
Being a closed distillery, Port Ellen whisky is rare, expensive and highly sought after. There are still quite a few bottlings available however, from both Diageo (the last owners) and several independent labels. (The Whisky Exchange website lists over 70 bottlings - from £499).
LFW, RMW, TWE
Islay Cycles 07760 196592
Run from the Port Ellen Boatyard in the Business Park (behind the White Hart Hotel). Not a shop as such, but hire, sales, accessories and repairs available - see website/ring for further details.
Brian Palmer describes himself as "the only cycle repairer and spare parts person in Bowmore", and can be contacted via Catherine MacTaggart who hires bikes from Bowmore Post Office (01496 810366). Bike Hire in Port Ellen from 01496 302349.
Nearest Cycle Shops Lochgilphead (18 miles from Kennacraig), Oban
Nevis Cycles 87 George Street, Oban 01631 566033
David Graham 13-15 Combie Street, Oban 01631 562069
Crinan Cycles 34 Argyll Street, Lochgilphead 01546 603511
Photos on this page were taken by me. Click on photo to enlarge. Full size versions of all my photos of Port Ellen Distillery are available on Flickr.