Provenance: Islay (Scotland)
Typology: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrels: Ex-Bourbon and ex-New Zealand Pinot Noir
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Moet Hennessy
Average price: € 198.00
Official website: www.ardbeg.com/en-int
As is the case every year, when Ardbeg releases a special edition dedicated to Ardbeg Committee (usually full or otherwise at high gradation), shortly afterwards it releases a lower-grade but still limited version.
This was also the case in 2020 with the controversial Blaaack, the bottle with the mouflon released at the end of 2019, of which this lower-priced (but still important) and just a tad more widely available version was released in February the following year.
Same undeclared ageing, same barrels used including New Zealand wine ageing (hence the mouflon) but just over four degrees less: will they make a difference?
Brass in the glass.
Red wine spilled on sunburnt asphalt, this is somewhat the first idea on the nose of this whisky, whether one likes it or not can be debated. The sweet notes are pregnant in time with plum, dour and pineapple, citrus of orange and chinotto, shortcrust pastry, a handful of spices (cinnamon and cloves), a hint of bitter. Not particularly intense and all in all ordinary but pleasant, if you like the genre of course.
It’s the smoke from the burnt tobacco the first to enter the palate, with a light hint of pepper accompanying it, an ashy blanket that spreads over the other flavours without much ado, tending to disrupt and hide them, as if the peat had its own and didn’t care about the rest. A hint of ginger on the resumption of fruit on the nose, just more acidic and with a somewhat plastic and artificial background.
The finish is medium-long and ashy with bitter, citrus, burnt sugar tips.
I’d say it’s half a disaster, a messed up whisky, unbalanced, distorted, almost unrecognisable if you think of the distillery, light years away from the mother version of which it seems almost a parody. It practically tastes burnt, but not in a good way, and for what it costs I’d say it’s very little.
Other bottlings in the blog:
Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist 2007
Ardbeg Blaaack (Committee Members Release)
Ardbeg Dark Cove
Ardbeg Drum (Committee Members Release)
Ardbeg Supernova SN2019
Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19yo Batch 1
Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19yo Batch 2
Ardbeg Wee Beastie 5yo