Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Moet Hennessy
Average price: € 130.00
Official website: www.ardbeg.com
The 2022 edition for the Fèis Ìle, released at the end of April in the exclusive version for the Committee, which will be followed by a lower ABV version on the occasion of Ardbeg Day in June, needless to say immediately raised many eyebrows.
As always, what counts is the content and if we like it or not. Side considerations about whether or not a certain bottling is appropriate and how it is managed are more a matter for social media (or their ancestors, the bars).
Cask strength, no adulteration, casks presumably ex-Bourbon but not declared, the only particularity specified for this bottle is the use of heavily roasted malt, as was the case with Glenmorangie Signet, another Lumsden creation.
On the nose, the peat is earthy and herbaceous, with toasty notes but far from Ardbeg’s sharp, tarry soul. On the contrary, the profile becomes sweeter, with fruit (fleshy apple, pineapple, peach, dried apricot), vanilla, caramelised cane sugar and cashews. There is also a spicy component, not too strong but present, with nutmeg, cumin and a light touch of ginger.
The roasting increases noticeably on the palate, turning to nuts and coffee, reaffirming the vegetal nature of the peat with the smoke changing to a distant but present impression. Dried apricots are mixed with salt and spices, while chocolate chips and aniseed brushstrokes appear, with ginger gaining strength along with candied orange burnt on wood.
The finish is quite long and saline, of toasted wood and fruit, anise, chocolate.
A curious expression, I don’t know if calling it punk is quite right but it is certainly far removed from the distillery’s usual evocations, although in the finish it tends to bring out its soul. Not particularly complex but very drinkable, perhaps not so incisive as to deserve such an “important” proscenium as the Committee but certainly not negligible.