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

Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist 2008

Review of a pre-reopening vintage of Ardbeg, released in 2008.

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: € 490.00
Official website: www.ardbeg.com
Vote: 92/100

Third (and last) of the bottlings of this short series of more than a decade ago, which recovered casks filled during the previous management of the distillery, all coming from the 1990 vintage.
One bottle per year, therefore with increasing aging, with a sixteen year old (of which I already talked), a seventeen year old (soon on these pages) and this eighteen year old.
The ageing is stated as “in oak”, but it can be assumed as ex-Bourbon.

Let me make a short digression about the tasting of whisky.
Whisky is a living and changing distillate, even though it doesn’t age in bottle, it undergoes changes in time, especially after being exposed to air for the first time.
For this reason, in order to get a truly complete idea, it should be drunk in different moments, at a certain distance (even important) from each other, also taking into consideration other factors such as the environment you are in, your mood, the general approach to the glass… whisky is living matter, and as such it creates a unique relationship with who drinks it.
In this sense, trying a whisky from a sample, often equal to a single dram, is a limited (and limiting) experience, which can just give an idea of what is in front of you, without being able to go deeper.
So, why write your impressions, even in a blog?
Because ours, as we have always said, are not reviews or judgments, but just impressions, shared as you would do among friends, and as such they should be taken: a cue, an idea, a curiosity, maybe to inspire a taste in turn.
Nothing more.

Tasting notes

On the nose, the peat is a medicinal, brackish mixture, with just enough of a touch of asphalt (pollution back in the day was already an issue!) to make it slightly acrid. Pickled olives, smoked herring, grilled fruit (pineapple slices, better than on pizza, and citrus), juniper berries, rosemary. Sweeter base of Catalan cream and pipe tobacco, with a memory of humidor. Textbook balance.
Peppery and lively at the entry in the mouth, it expresses more the salty and roasted part but without overwhelming the senses, thanks also to a greater contribution of the fruity and sweet component that compensates for the peat assault. Citrus fruits (blood orange and lemon), licorice, milk chocolate, a hint of coriander, butter cookies. Strong yet soft, rough yet gentle. Extraordinary!
Long, very saline finish of dull barbecue, citrus, humidor, rosemary.

An almost moving piece of history, a symphony of harsh and sweet tones, of thundering music and light melodies that drags and seduces, promising endless symphonies.
If only I could get a bottle of this…

Reviews of Ardbeg whisky in the blog

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