Ardbeg Distillery Island of Islay Scotland Whisky from 200 euros and over

Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19yo Batch 2

Review of the 2020 edition of the 19-year-old from Ardbeg.

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 46.2%ABV
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon First Fill and ex-Sherry Oloroso
Chillfiltered: No
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Moet Hennessy
Average price: € 240.00
Official website: www.ardbeg.com
Vote: 85/100

A year after its debut, the most maturely aged Ardbeg in the distillery’s core portfolio has been back on the shelves since last September.
The whisky dedicated to the peculiar beach on the coast of Islay is released in an annual limited edition, following the same recipe but with some minor differences: in this second batch, ex-Bourbon casks were used to a greater extent, and the whisky was bottled in the middle of a heavy fog bank (unlike the storm during the bottling of the first one). Key details…

As always, the bottle bears a code, TB/02-18.09.00/20. JT, that is:
– TB/02 as Traigh Bhan second release
– 18.09.00/20 the date of filling of the most mature cask contained in the distillate and the year of bottling
– JT the initials of one of the employees involved in the creation of the bottling, namely the manager of the distillery’s visitor centre, Jackie Thomson.
I liked the first batch “just” a little bit, obviously I expect a lot from the second batch as well.

Tasting notes

Light gold in the glass.
The nose is submerged by the ocean waves, a brackish wave that brings with it acrid and smoky (but not too much) peat accompanied by pineapple, pear, tea leaves, lemon. Alongside this fresh and sparkling impression is a woody component of wet earth, pine needles, resin… a fun and full ambivalence.
The palate is rather light, the earthy profile is accentuated and the asphalt and smoke aspect of Ardbeg emerges with overbearing force in a tight embrace with the marine one, leaving in the corner the other aromas that loom up along the length, still of yellow fruit, tea, lemon touches. Vague balsamic impressions in the background.
The finish is not very long and ashy, saline, with balsamic and fruity traits.

The disappointment, I admit, was stark.
Beyond expectations, the first batch was as explosive and complex as this one seems stripped down and reduced, to the point of showing almost less alcohol than claimed.
It’s not bad, mind you, the nose is excellent and the dram is that of a classic Ardbeg, without too many pretensions, but for a 19 year old and especially at this price I expect more than ‘normality’.

Reviews of Ardbeg whisky in the blog

Other perspectives:
The Whiskey Wash

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