Ardbeg Distillery Island of Islay Scotland Whisky from 50 to 100 euros

Ardbeg BizarreBQ

Review of the barbecue enthusiasts' edition

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Strength: 50.9%ABV
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry PX
Chillfiltered: No
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Moet Hennessy
Average price: € 85.00
Official website: www.ardbeg.com
Vote: 79/100

When approaching the special editions created by the (twisted?) mind of Bill Lumsden, the feeling is sometimes that certain ideas came to him while shaving in the mirror, zapping on television or fishing random words out of a crossword puzzle.
Be that as it may, this recent release is part of a project that began in 2020, which saw a collaboration with Christian Stevenson, aka DJ BBQ, resulting in the Smoke Sessions, a series of videos in which the grill eclectic tried his hand at pairing BBQ dishes with Ardbeg-based cocktails. This was followed by the BBQ World Tour of which, as can be guessed, this bottle is the natural continuation.
Whisky with an unspecified age matured in (presumably ex-Bourbon) double charred casks, toasted ex-sherry PX casks and ‘barbecue’ casks, i.e. casks that have undergone heavy charring through an old brazier.
Marketing quirks aside, as always, it’s the liquid in the glass that counts, at the very least we’ll eat some ribs afterwards

Tasting notes

First approach to the nose, I don’t feel all the intensity of the pushed charring: the dominant impressions are quite sweet, tending to fruitiness (peach, pear, apricot) with pastry excursions (lemon tart) and spicy touches (cinnamon, cloves), imbued with a strong marine and mineral component, with hints of smoked mussels. And this is the introduction of the smoky part, which grows on the length until it prevails, shifting the accent to roasted coffee beans, chocolate and the omnipresent coastal part. Pleasant but not exciting.
On the palate, the spices become lively, bringing paprika and chilli pepper to the fore (in keeping with the spirit of the bottling), with the roasting that raises the tone considerably, infecting every flavour: the fruity and sweet aspects all end up on the grill together with the maritime soul (various seafood products sizzling, again consistent) in a smoky mash that leaves little room for nuances.
The finish is quite long, tingling with spices, mineral notes, grilled fruit, lots of salt and, of course, a blanket of charcoal and vaguely bitter smoke.

You can find some interesting aspects on the nose, when the smoke is still only one of the ingredients, but in the mouth it all falls apart and the dram becomes flat and unimpressive. Fans of the smoke at all costs will have no complaints, but it is legitimate to expect something more from a special edition that is not exactly cheap.

Reviews of Ardbeg whisky

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