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A fistful of Ardbeg


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Hello, that is certainly one of our (nearly) each day tastings. Santé!



December 11, 2021



Angus’s Nook
From our correspondent and
expert taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
A fistful of Ardbeg
Our tour of ‘blue chip’ names continues apace (will it gradual or pause earlier than the yr is out? Appears unlikely… ) right now with Ardbeg. These are some notes I took whereas on the distillery once I was on Islay the opposite month. It struck me whereas I used to be there that it has been 16 years since I first labored there as a summer season tour information. It is fairly scary when you can begin to quantify your grownup life by more and more costly whisky age statements!



Angus tour information at Ardbeg (image courtesy Tomislav)


Arrrrrrrdbeg (51.8%, OB, ex-rye casks, 2020)

Arrrrrrrdbeg (51.8%, OB, ex-rye casks, 2020)
Totally matured in ex-rye casks and bottled to mark the departure of the good Mickey Heads. I could not let you know if I put the proper variety of ‘r’s within the identify there. Color: pale straw. Nostril: I do not discover it notably Ardbeggy, it is extra on gentle seawater, washing salts, seashore foam and sand to start with. Any peat may be very restrained. Putty, some crab sticks, sandalwood and chalk. Fairly elegant however a bit unsure maybe. With water: very crystalline with brittle salinity, lemon juice, pine wooden and a contact of aniseed. Mouth: some peat comes now, gentle and peppery peat, with metallic polish, soot, certainly just a little pumpernickel rye spiciness as effectively. Though general it stays a bit youthful and sharp across the edges I feel. With water: some smoked olive oil, some lemon juice and a little bit of sharp, barely acidic and tangy smoke. End: medium, prickly with smoke, some pickle brine, extra aniseed and extra pepper. Feedback: not too certain about this one. It feels a bit undercooked and never notably Ardbeg to me. Nonetheless, the freshness and crispness are very pleasant.
SGP: 355 – 82 factors.



Ardbeg 5 yo 'Wee Beastie' (47.4%, OB, b29/10/2020)

Ardbeg 5 yo ‘Wee Beastie’ (47.4%, OB, b29/10/2020)
Color: pale straw. Nostril: plenty of these usually youthful yeasty sourdough starter notes, lemon juice on moist sheep wool, moist rope, creosote and a slightly sooty smokiness. Some issues like whelks and salty pasta water within the background. Youthful however excellently and refreshingly so I might say. Mouth: tingling peat smoke, seawater, wooden ashes, kelp and iodine. Reasonably wonderful right away. Pretty sense of bathtub salts and tarry hessian. End: good size, a heat peppery feeling, extra sharp salt crystals, lemon juice, seawater and hessian. Feedback: I do not discover this notably beasty, however I do discover it extraordinarily charming and superb. How about ‘wee magnificence’ as a substitute?
SPG: 466 – 87 factors. 



Ardbeg 10 yo (46%, OB, L 22/03/2021)
Ardbeg 10 yo (46%, OB, L 22/03/2021)

Ardbeg 10 yo (46%, OB, L 22/03/2021)
Color: white wine. Nostril: moist rocks, hessian, chalk, brine, lemon juice, medicines, flippantly acidic peat smoke. It is  Ardbeg 10 and every part seems to be instead. Mouth: nice arrival, sharp, drying peat smoke, extra hessian, oily instrument rags, smoked sea salt, camphor, tar, iodine. Textural but in addition chiselled and exact too. You may assume in some methods it is a mixture of Caol Ila and Laphroaig at occasions. Some pretty maritime qualities like seawater and kelp come by with a pair extra sips. Retains evolving with extra issues like creel nets, extra tar, anthracite embers and roof pitch. Selecting up energy because it goes alongside. End: lengthy, stuffed with wooden ashes, silky peat smoke, tar, embrocations and issues like lime and seawater. Feedback: I feel they by no means actually altered the recipe of a mixture of 1st and refill casks since this one was launched. Very good, as a result of IMHO, this stays an excellent trendy traditional. Whole bang in your buck territory for certain.
SPG: 367 – 90 factors.



Ardbeg 8 yo 'For Discussion' (50.8%, OB, b18/03/2021)

Ardbeg 8 yo ‘For Dialogue’ (50.8%, OB, b18/03/2021)
It is nice that these bottles have extra ‘widespread sense’ L codes lately. Color: brilliant straw. Nostril: delicately salty, this sense of issues like smoked and pink sea salts. Bathtub bombs, sandalwood, briny pickling juices, kippers – feels notably extra mature after the 5yo, maybe deceptively so. However nonetheless, it is one other superb one. With water: getting extra fragrant and medicinal now with issues like witchhazel, wintergreen and aniseed. Some touches of germoline and camphor as effectively. Mouth: hoho, pretty oily and textural peat, slathered on phenolics, engine grease, tar extracts, some punchy hospital vibes, gauze, iodine, black pepper and thick sooty notes. Completely very good and the feel is actually what impresses most! With water: great peat flavour, cough medicines, pepper and anchovy paste. A terrific tarriness that feels completely Ardbeggy. End: good size, peppery, tarry, barely fishy and nonetheless with this splendidly oily and phenolic vibe. Feedback: I discover this wee child simply completely very good, what I like most is that it feels not solely technically good, however with this splendidly texture it additionally feels prefer it has a soul to match. Benchmark younger trendy Ardbeg at its finest. I will likely be shopping for a few bottles and you might take that as a agency seal of approval.
SGP: 577 – 90 factors.



Ardbeg 19 yo 'Traigh Bhan' (46.2%, OB, batch 'TB/03 -10.10.01/21.BL', American oak and oloroso sherry casks)

Ardbeg 19 yo ‘Traigh Bhan’ (46.2%, OB, batch ‘TB/03 -10.10.01/21.BL’, American oak and oloroso sherry casks)
The most recent batch I imagine. Is it simply me, or are these batch numbers are longer than Invoice Lumsden’s joke e-book? Color: pale gold. Nostril: a extremely fragrant and scented kind of peat smoke that feels fairly wispy, mushy and permeating with impressions of sandalwood, furnishings polish and crushed sea shells. Additionally issues like smoked tea, menthol tobacco, myrtle and heather beer. Despite the fact that I suppose that is early 2000s Glenmorangie produced batches now, it feels extra harking back to the Nineteen Nineties Allied fashion. Which is sort of reassuring in some ways. Mouth: pepper, smoked olive oil, very tarry, numerous hessian, smoked cereals and a few struck flints and different slightly punchy mineral touches. In time it evolves these huge camphor features but in addition numerous dried herbs, aniseed, dried lime peel and hardwood resins. End: medium and with this warming peppery and peaty aspect (which appears to be an rising hallmark of those trendy Ardbeg), leather-based, pine cones, wooden smoke and just a little extra aniseed. Feedback: wonderful whisky, little question about it. However maybe the 8 was a tad extra spectacular just by advantage of its youthful zest. Anyway, we’re splitting hairs – that is pretty.
SGP: 566 – 90 factors.



I’ve to say, it is a pleasure to see wonderful high quality, pretty priced and age said Ardbegs again on the cabinets. This made me very joyful this wee session.









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