Google New Ardbeg Kelpie sandwiched

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

March 28, 2017


New Ardbeg Kelpie sandwiched

Everything is just like clockwork, there’s a new official Ardbeg. It’s called Kelpie, everyone’s tasted it already, and here comes this lazy old whisky blogger, late to the party as ever. It’s true that we also have other priorities. Now what’s good when you’re late, is that you know what other people are thinking, and most friends seem to consider that Kelpie’s rather a good one. That is why I’ve decided to ‘grill it’, meaning to put it into a very challenging tasting environment, or what I’d call a ‘sandwich’. See what I mean…

First, and old 1965…

Ardbeg 22 yo 1965/1990 (54.4%, Cadenhead, black dumpy, 75cl)

Ardbeg 22 yo 1965/1987 (46%, Cadenhead, sherry wood) Five stars We’ve tried quite a few 1965s already, and many have been excellent (not quite the OB with white gloves, having said that), but the early-to-mid 1970s were even better. Colour: office coffee. Nose: it’s true that it delivers. Amazing. A bag of old copper coins, an old toolbox, the engine of an E-type (the straight 6, of course), some cooked white wine, a box of Cuban cigars, some kind of liquoricy fudge, an old stereo set, and today’s Le Monde (or any other proper newspapers). I mean, fresh ink and paper. Flabbergasting nose. Mouth: sweet Vishnu! It hasn’t lost one tooth, and hits you right between your ears at first sip, with an earthy/roasted sweet style and more ashes than in an early steamboat. Jaffa cakes dipped into smoked tea, smoked cloves (can you do that?) and some kind of lemony cigars. What’s even more amazing is that there’s always some kind of freshness over everything, around lemon juice, which prevents it from becoming a tad cloying or tiring. This was whisky art. Finish: long, and yet fresh and even ‘lifting’. Smoked tangerines, perhaps. Oh and one oyster, forgot to mention our beloved oysters. And menthol, as usual. Comments: one of my favourite 1965s, I think. I know they would jail you if you use the word ‘seminal’, but I think it will, it’s seminal Islay. Up there with the best. SGP:365 - 95 points.

Second, Kelpie…

Ardbeg ‘Kelpie’ (51.7%, OB, Committee Release, 2017)

Ardbeg ‘Kelpie’ (51.7%, OB, Committee Release, 2017) Four starsAs usual, this baby Ardbeg comes with some kind of ‘Celtic legend’, as well as some unlikely wood, in this case some new oak from around the Black Sea. Isn’t it funny that you’d need so many funny stories when you cannot or do not want to disclose the age of your whisky? Is it that young? Colour: straw. Nose: as simple as 1+1, almost elementary, and yet immediately appealing. I’m finding it very pure, very obvious in the best way, with a little lemon and custard, and then an ashy/coastal smokiness mixed with raw malt and, indeed, some kelp. A thin nose, yet a great nose. With water: fresh bread and a gingery smoke. Mouth (neat): very different, there’s perhaps a little too much spicy oak for me in the arrival. A little too much caraway, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves for Ardbeg, at times it feels like some two-year-old American craft whiskey, really. Not that it’s bad, quite the opposite, it’s just kind of lost lost a wee chunk of the brand’s DNA, as they say in London. With water: rather better, water brings out more Ardbegness. Finish: better, fresher, lemony, smoky, rather gentle. Very nice spicy grapefruits in the aftertaste, as well as more spicy tannins again. Comments: very good but feels a little young and a wee bit doctored on the palate. The nose was really very nice, especially when unreduced, though. SGP:476 - 86 points.

And the third part of the sandwich…

Ardbeg 24 yo 1965/1990 (54.4%, Cadenhead, black dumpy, 75cl)

Ardbeg 24 yo 1965/1990 (54.4%, Cadenhead, black dumpy, 75cl) Five stars There was also a version for Sestante, with a cream label, and one for ‘Andy and Norman’, probably all the same juice. Granted, it’s not the first time we’re trying this baby, but it’s from yet another bottle and how could you resist? Colour: the whitest white wine. Nose: barbecued sardines! Yes I’ve checked what the neighbours were doing, they are NOT barbecuing sardines. And old turpentine, old embrocations, engine oil, Le Mans, Bakelite, bits and pieces of various metals, some rusted, grapefruits, old forgotten lemon liqueur that your grandma brought back from Italy around 1960, smoked salmon… Well you see what I mean. No water needed, for once. Mouth: brutal. A fire in a lemon plantation, burning tyres, seawater. Bwilliant. With water: oily, engine-y, lemony, salty, ashy. Everything is in place. Finish: sadly. Extremely pure. Comments: essential. I used to be at 94, but I think that was cheap and stingy. Booh! SGP:457 - 95 points.

(With heartfelt thanks to Emmanuel, Fabien, and Jens)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Ardbeg I've tasted so far







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