Scotland > Islay > Scotch and Other Whiskies > Single Malt > Ardbeg
This Ardbeg, pronounced (pronounced ‘Oog-a-dal’), is a mariage of ex-Bourbon and ex-sherry casks. It takes it's name from the mysterious Loch that also happens to be Ardbeg Distillery's water source. It is bottled at 54.2%, but is still very approachable and savoury with the melding of sherry notes to Ardbeg's classic style.
Andrew's Tasting Note - Sampled for Whisky Advent 2016
Nose: salty Dutch licorice, coal fired kitchen stove, burnt bacon dripped in maple syrup and seared dates and figs; big dark chocolate with cayenne spice, cinnamon hearts and raw new leather.
Palate: very big, bold, fruity and chewy; smooth smoke drifting over plump wet malted barley; rich spices emerge: fennel, clove and anise leading the way to firm oily peat and Cuban cigar smoke; candied fruits and Christmas cake with bacon infused spicy dark chocolate; underneath the whisky's bold outer shell are soft fruits: orange, melon, banana and mango; the salt and smoke come back as the whisky comes full circle.
Finish: big, long, oily and coating; more juicy malt, coal smoke fading in and out of earthy peat; the fruits, chocolate and bacon notes are all there too.
Comment: this whisky changes a little from batch to batch; once named World Whisky of the Year by he who shall not be named; but vary as it does, it never disappoints: always sherried, peaty and meaty, and who doesn't love that!
Distiler's Tasting Note
Nose: Rich and weighty with heady and smoky aromatics, this expression of Ardbeg is both intensely flavoured and perfectly integrated. At full strength, the initial aroma is a beguiling mix of warm Christmas cake, walnut oil and parma violets fused with fresh ocean spice, cedar and pine needles falling from the Christmas tree. A smouldering smoky coal fire and the deep scent of well-oiled leather brings warmth to the scene. The sweetness of treacle toffees and chocolate-coated raisins bring indulgence through the smoke.
Palate: Full flavoured and rich with a deep mouth-coating texture, the taste is an intriguing balance between sweet, spicy and deep smoky flavours. The flavour is initially sweet as Christmas cake begins to soak into the tongue. A burst of winter spices sets off a smoky-spicy explosion countered by a sumptuous mid-palate of honey glazed smoked food and chewy treacle. Waves of deep smoky tones and rich aromas build up on the palate like a fine Montecristo cigar.
Finish: Amazingly long and chewy with lingering raisiny, deep mocha tones and rich aromatic smoke into the perfectly integrated finish.
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