Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Moet Hennessy
Average price: € 500.00
Official website: www.ardbeg.com
As today is my birthday, I thought I’d celebrate appropriately with my distillery-fetish and a very special bottling.
This is the 2007 edition of a vintage 1990 Ardbeg, part of a series that was short-lived but highly successful, started the year before and closed just the following year due to a shortage of casks.
Each bottling was therefore increasingly aged, starting with 16 years for the first and ending with 18 years for the third.
The uniqueness of this very short series lies in the casks filled in 1990, i.e. seven years before Glenmorangie bought and permanently reopened the distillery, after a period in which it operated only a few months a year, thus presenting a now “lost” profile of this whisky.
The name in Gaelic means “The lair of the beast”, so much so that this bottle is often referred to as “The Beast”, virtually the daddy (or granddaddy) of the recent Wee Beastie.
Full gold in the glass.
The opening to the nose is almost shy, closed, a herbaceous and humid peat with metallic veins, where the smoke is a background hint that emerges at times. It becomes more intense as the minutes pass, fruit tones of lychees, yellow peach, apricot and pear with lemon cream, wax crayons, yellow orange juice creep in. The smoke becomes persistent and thick, blending with the aromas in a more complex and fuller profile.
The score changes on the palate, the smoke becomes more acrid and earthy, bringing with it buckets of ocean and spices (chilli and ginger), together with pine needles and toasted resin, dried fruit (pine nuts, walnuts and pistachios), dour cherries and orange juice. Very oily and chewy, it plods through the aromas without ever stopping.
The finish is long, with salt and pepper prickles on the lips, while soot, sweet fruit, cream and coffee remain in the mouth.
A fun, exciting, lively whisky, a continuous metamorphosis in the three passages of pure entertainment, with the characteristics of the distillery present and yet different, a plunge into a merry-go-round of the past unfortunately now difficult to find again.