Origin: Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon hogshead refill
Added colouring: No
Owner: Douglas Laing & Co.
Average price: € 400,00
Official website: www.douglaslaing.com
I’ve made no secret of my fondness for Ardbeg whiskies (and the list of bottlings I’ve tried proves it), and when I had the opportunity to get a sample of a single cask from the Islay distillery… well, I jumped at it!
The Old Malt Cask range was launched in 1999 by renowned bottler Douglas Laing, featuring single casks all bottled at 50%ABV.
When one of the founder’s sons decided to set up his own label, the series followed, merging in 2013 under Hunter Laing.
Here I find myself with a bottling from the earliest period, with a 1991 spirit bottled thirteen years later, in 2004, in 338 bottles that are still available, albeit at exorbitant prices.
This whisky comes from the period when the distillery had an extremely low production, and is therefore a true rarity.
The nose is sour and vegetal, with a salty peat with bitter tones that titillates the nose with roasted fruit (pineapple, peach, pink grapefruit), cumin, cloves, candied orange and cooked cream. Over time, a note of crispy bacon and BBQ sauce emerges, with the smoke becoming thicker. Tantalizing.
In the mouth it has an accentuated but not overpowering spiciness of pepper and ginger, maintaining a vegetal profile that here becomes woody, with memories of resin and toasted pine along with leather and bergamot, in a full-bodied and rich dram where the fruit punctuates the rear and veins the flavors with sweeter tones. More smoke along the length, crackling embers over which brown ribs and peppers, with impressions of sea waves and oysters.
The finish is long and salty, dry, of burnt wood, leather, baked apple, bitter orange and burnt peppers.
Balanced, rich, complex, far from the extremes of contemporary bottlings, with an elegance we have grown unused to and the emergence of new impressions.
It could be drunk by the gallon, such is its drinkability.
Reviews of Ardbeg whisky in the blog
Reviews of Douglas Laing whisky in the blog:
Big Peat 10yo
Big Peat 33yo Cognac & Sherry Finish
Big Peat Christmas Edition 2020
Big Peat Small Batch
Old Particular Auchroisk 18yo
Old Particular The Christmas Edition 2005
Timorous Beastie 12yo
Timorous Beastie 18yo The Winter Edition