There are distilleries and there are iconic distillerys in the whisky buisness, Ardbeg has to be one of the main iconic distilleries out there..
The distillery is like marmite, you either love it or hate it, the fan base for Ardbeg is massive, people go mad for it, it is the Manchester United of whisky.. The huge peat influence in the whisky is quite intense and many of the fanatical fans will tell you that the profile has unfortunately changed over the years, the older liquid is better they say, well I am about to find out, this is my first opertunity to taste anything other than the 10yo, so I am quite looking forward to this.
This malt is said to be the most phenolic in the business, (peated to 50ppm) ( statement for range as a whole and not individual bottlings ) with the soft pure water that runs through the peat to the peat fired kilns.
Outturn.. 2400 bottles
Nose… Wait a minute, this is Ardbeg .. Isn’t it.. I was not expecting this, Ardbeg meets subtle aromas, it starts with a lovely subtle fruity infused smoke, it is quite elegant, subtle orange and nectarine notes mingle with smouldering wood notes.
Palate.. A little more like what I expected, although still subtle, the peat is more prominent, quite dry with fruity notes, orange marmalade, charcoal and cinder toffee notes with bonfire toffee, a subtle note of soft liquorice along with some tobacco like notes.
finish.. I’ll tell you when it does..
Thoughts.. This Ardbeg has taken me by surprise, I was expecting big full on, smack your lips with a baseball bat flavours but instead I got subtle, delicate complex flavours that really have made me think twice. This is the reason thousands of people love the taste, I know the younger expressions are more full on but this is WHISKY, this is what it is all about, this is what you offer your friends and expect silence while they nose and sip what they have in thier hands, this is what puts that smile on faces, and warms the cockles.. I feel quite privaliged to have been given the chance to try this, I really do hope I get the chance of trying some other older Ardbegs one day..
I would like to thank Andy Purslow for this AWSOME sample..