Ardbeg Distillery Cadenhead's Independent Bottlers Island of Islay Scotland Whisky from 200 euros and over

Cadenhead’s Ardbeg 26yo

Review of a very special Ardbeg with a rare independent bottling

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 53.7%ABV
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon hogshead
Chillfiltered: No
Additional Coloring: No
Owner: J & A Mitchell & Co Ltd.
Average price: € 600.00
Official website: www.cadenhead.scot
Vote: 92/100

All whisky enthusiasts have a fetish distillery… well, maybe even more than one, it’s hard to be monogamous in these cases.
A distillery you’d like to try everything about, which hardly ever disappoints your expectations, and even when it does, in the end, come on, an unhappy bottle happens to everyone, right? Besides, it’s not all that bad, there are worse things out there!
A sort of Stockholm Syndrome that can make everyone waver, even the most irreproachable of reviewers in the sector.
And since I am not irreproachable, let alone a whisky reviewer, I calmly admit my dedication to Ardbeg, easily guessed from the list of bottles I have mentioned on this blog.

And when your fetish distillery meets one of the best independent bottlers on the market, what do you do? You don’t want to try it?
Single cask with 1993 distillate (prior to the current management), bottled in February 2020 in 240 bottles for Cadenhead’s Authentic Collection.

Tasting notes

The ocean dominates the nose, with brackish hints of seaweed, sea rocks and oysters intruding on notes of white fruit that are both sweet and tart, with smoked cane sugar sprinkled over pine needles, marzipan and a touch of liquorice. Lemon squeezed on the asphalt. Impressions of burnt grass emerge on the length. Structured and full.
Masterful alcoholic balance on the palate, oily and compact sips with a slight hint of ginger and a saline trail that marks the whole dram. The taste is very mineral, enough to make a geologist jealous, with smoke that plays upwards in tandem with a greater incidence of fruit (peach, pineapple, apple) and vegetal connotations that verge on the balsamic, with some hints of brine in the background. Bitter notes combine with savoury ones over the long term, a dryness that increases salivation and makes you immediately pick up the glass.
The finish is long and savory, dry, herbaceous and coastal touches intertwine with a strong minerality with citric inflections and remnants of burnt grass.

Spectacular, incisive, well-balanced but far from compassionate, it digs into the soul like sea water and leaves indelible marks on the memory. Different from any contemporary Ardbeg, yet recognisable in certain traits, like an old friend you meet again after a long time on Facebook and who takes you on a painfully pleasant trip down memory lane.

Reviews of Ardbeg whisky in the blog

Reviews of Cadenhead’s whisky in the blog

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