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Ardbeg Distillery Island of Islay Scotland

Ardbeg Scorch

Review of 2021 Committee Release at a lower ABV.

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 46%ABV
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon
Chillfiltered: No
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Moet Hennessy
Average price: € 150.00
Official website: www.ardbeg.com
Vote: 83/100

2021 has been particularly rich for the members of the Ardbeg Committee, with no less than two editions released close to each other, actually three.
First there was Arrrrrrrdbeg!, dedicated to the now former Distillery Manager Mickey Heads, followed shortly by Scorch, a hyper-smoked version of Ardbeg thanks to heavily charred ex-Bourbon casks, released during Fèis Ìle, at 51.7% proof.
And the third? It’s the 8 year old “For Discussion”, released a few days ago only in certain countries, and which will apparently become a more or less regular edition, in this case without the fancy or bizarre maturation that we have become accustomed to.

As is always the case with Ardbeg Day editions, the initial version is followed after some time by another, featured in this article, which is identical to the previous one except for the packaging and reduced gradation.
Launched with a fantasy-style campaign (you can find the dedicated page here), the Scorch is aged in what they have called Dragon Casks, i.e. heavily charred ex-Bourbon casks, in honour of the dragon that is said to be hiding in dunnage number 3, hence the theme of the packaging.
First Committee Release under the new Distillery Manager, Colin Gordon, it obviously didn’t fail to raise the usual controversy about limited editions that seem to be created to titillate not so much collectors as speculators.
But we drink, what do we care?

Tasting notes

The dragon certainly doesn’t suffer from diabetes because the nose is rather sweet, with citrus, liquorice, tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, coconut), roasted cane sugar, aniseed, marshmallows over fire. A bonfire actually, with sour and acidulous tips that underline a decisive and uncompromising aroma. At length, oysters and seawater.
In the mouth, the burnt wood part thickens without overwhelming the fruity and, all in all, sweet spirit of the distillate, which expresses itself in citrus fruits (blond orange, chinotto), pineapple, custard, brioche with jam (overcooked), pine nuts, liquorice. The marine component always emerges on the length, here with greater conviction, salty and mineral waves with a medicinal touch. Pinch of black pepper.
Quite long and medicinal finish of pepper, ash, licorice, orange peel, burnt marshmellow.

All in all it delivers what it promises, with little peat and a lot of burnt wood on a sweet soul that doesn’t burn and, indeed, is quite easy to drink. Good balance, not layered but not simplistic either: promoted but without standing out.

Reviews of Ardbeg whisky in the blog:
Ardbeg 8yo For Discussion
Ardbeg 10yo
Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist 2007
Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist 2008
Ardbeg Arrrrrrrdbeg (Commitee Members Release)
Ardbeg Auriverdes
Ardbeg Blaaack (Committee Members Release)
Ardbeg Blaaack Limited Edition
Ardbeg Blasda
Ardbeg Corryvreckan
Ardbeg Dark Cove
Ardbeg Drum (Committee Members Release)
Ardbeg Galileo
Ardbeg Grooves
Ardbeg Kelpie
Ardbeg Kildalton
Ardbeg Rollercoaster
Ardbeg Supernova SN2019
Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19yo Batch 1
Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19yo Batch 2
Ardbeg Uigeadail
Ardbeg Wee Beastie 5yo
Old Malt Cask Ardbeg 1991 (13yo)

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