Ardbeg Distillery Island of Islay Scotland

Ardbeg Dark Cove

Review of Ardbeg's dark and limited whisky.

Provenance: Islay (Scotland)
Typology: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 46.5%ABV
Ageing barrels: Ex-Bourbon and ex-“Dark” Sherry
Chillfiltered: No
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Moet Hennessy
Average price: € 188.00
Official website:
Vote: 89/100

Another release dedicated to the Ardbeg Committee, the (not very) exclusive club of connoisseurs of the distillery that is celebrated every year with a special bottling.
This time it’s May 2016, with a darkly packaged bottle (it’s called Dark, isn’t it?) intended to evoke the coves where smugglers hid whisky in the good old days.

Hence the reference to ageing in casks that contained ‘very dark’ Sherry, in this edition as always (relatively) limited and at the time only available directly from the distillery. If you’re interested in the side of this bottle, I’ll facilitate this video to send you into raptures.
Ardbeg’s marketing strategies are always very colourful, and more than a few people turn their noses up at the lack of substance they’re trying to conceal (which, at times, seems to me more like a point of view): frankly, I don’t really care, they’re obviously good salesmen, but I’m interested in the content beyond whatever clothes they put on.

Gold with amber highlights in the glass.
Tar and peat soaked in seawater greet the nose properly, with a slight alcoholic tingle, soon joined by candied orange, cinnamon-baked apples and liquorice that round out the profile. Underneath, a slight citric and woody, resinous note is revealed, making for a very distinctive nose (for an Ardbeg).
The palate is also oily and rounded, with just a hint of toasted peat, sharp and savoury, punctuating a rather soft ensemble of fruit cake (such as Far Breton), cinnamon, liquorice root and chocolate. Again the woody trait that underlies the whole, between herbaceous and balsamic.
The finish is long and salty, with embers, orange, ginger and liquorice.

An Ardbeg that is anything but obscure, certainly different and original, with its own personality and more accommodating than usual, while not being pandering. A pity about the price, but if you get your hands on it, you must try it.

Other bottlings in the blog:
Ardbeg 10yo
Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist 2007
Ardbeg Blaaack (Committee Members Release)
Ardbeg Blaaack Limited Edition
Ardbeg Blasda
Ardbeg Corryvreckan
Ardbeg Drum (Committee Members Release)
Ardbeg Grooves
Ardbeg Kelpie
Ardbeg Supernova SN2019
Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19yo Batch 1
Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19yo Batch 2
Ardbeg Uigeadail
Ardbeg Wee Beastie 5yo

Other perspectives:
The Scotch Noob

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