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

Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19yo Batch 4

Review of the 2022 edition of the 19-year-old from Ardbeg.

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Strength: 46.2%ABV
Ageing casks: Ex-American oak and ex-Sherry
Chillfiltered: No
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Moet Hennessy
Average price: € 340.00
Official website: www.ardbeg.com
Vote: 90/100

Ardbeg is one of those distilleries that develops a very special relationship with fans: either you love it or you hate it.
The well-known (and infamous) marketing policies and the continuous special editions, sometimes with rather peculiar justifications, have over the years created a sort of revulsion on the part of some, with an almost pathological rejection of each new bottling that is greeted with pre-emptive and, at times, somewhat specious criticism.
But some of them buy the bottle anyway without telling anyone….
Beyond the imaginative ploys of Lumsden, the tutelary deity of Ardbeg and Glenmorangie, I have rarely found bottlings that were anything less than good, demonstrating how the intrinsic quality of the distillate can withstand whatever vagaries it is subjected to.

And so we come to the 2022 edition of this series, which like its predecessors presents slight variations on the others: in this case, the proportion of ex-Sherry Oloroso refill casks is greater in what they claim brings this release closer to the style of the 1970s Ardbeg.
A 2003 distillate bottled in March 2022 in a limited edition, it bears the signature of Distillery Manager Colin Gordon, for whose sample collected at the recent Whisky Week in Como I thank the always very kind Emanuele.

Tasting notes

A mellow, spicy peat emerges on the nose, with sweet, medicinal tones creeping in through the nostrils and soon emphasising strongly citrus notes. Nutmeg and pine needles hover over a compote of heterogeneous fruit with pineapple, mango, dried apricot and candied citron, while a vein of cocoa and ash permeates a mixture of cola and macaroons. Over time, the ash evolves into burnt rubber without ever overflowing, remaining in good balance with the fresh, fruity whisky aromas. Pleasant but not pleasing.
The attack on the palate is rather vegetal, with a hint of pepper and ginger to liven up a peat that is also ashy and full of coastal and mineral impulses, with citrus still dominating the fruity and tropical tones. Hints of vanilla and Catalan cream alternate with bitter veins of liquorice root and cocoa, with a load of fennel and spices (anise, above all) embracing the flavours. A mentholated impression makes its way along the length, diluting the smokiness suspended between the vegetal and automotive souls.
The long finish takes up the entire aromatic score, re-proposing the dichotomies of vegetable and ashy peat, tropical and citrus fruit, fresh and bitter tones.

After a second edition that was not exactly scintillating and a third that was more convincing, there is a return to excellence with a whisky that is balanced despite its contradictions, with different souls that collide and intertwine without smearing, finding a point of balance that perhaps lacks that explosive richness that had overwhelmed me in the first batch.
But we are talking about nuances, which are part of the very personal relationship woven with a dram that certainly doesn’t leave you indifferent.

Reviews of Ardbeg whisky

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