Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon First Fill and ex-Rum
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Moet Hennessy
Average price: € 220.00
Official website: www.ardbeg.com
Yet another ‘exclusive’ release for the Ardbeg Committee, this time in 2019, which was followed by a lower-alcohol (46%) version a few months later, which comes with an unprecedented refinement in casks that have previously contained rum, hence the unusual name (and appearance).
Some would say that unusual is now the usual for bottles from this distillery, but there you go…
Straw yellow in the glass.
Pungent and tarry peat as it should be, in a combination of barbecue ribs and herring, which soon reveals a more accepting heart of vanilla, salted caramel, peanuts, candied orange, roasted brown sugar. Spice of cloves and black pepper. We are in the groove of tradition with just a slight variation on the theme, compact and balanced.
A sweet and salty approach to chocolate ice-cream, which in the blanket of acrid smoke infiltrates a sugary and silky sting that is a bit surprising, like those gummy sweets you find in cinemas, of sweet liquorice filled with God-knows-what fruit. More candied orange and spices, lemon drop, wood chips. Apart from the initial surprise, it continues quite fluid and consistent, with a slight bitter aniseed tendency.
The finish is long, sugary and ashy, with liquorice, anise, salt, orange and wood.
A good Ardbeg, where the lash of the rum finish seems to have had only a minor influence, not enough to give it a clear and defined personality and make this bottle stand out from others (to mention one that is also on paper “out of the box”, the Kelpie). And when you’re shelling out big bucks, you can expect a lot more.
The Whiskey Wash