Google Two recent indie Ardbeg

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

May 3, 2017


Two recent indie Ardbeg

This wouldn’t be whiskyfun if we didn’t taste a few new Ardbegs every once in a while. It’s not the glorious 70s anymore, but the distillates still shine, fight and conquer from time to time, just like most other peaty Islays.

Ardbeg 20 yo 1996/2016 (46%, Chieftain's, bourbon barrels, casks #808+811, 601 bottles)

Ardbeg 20 yo 1996/2016 (46%, Chieftain's, bourbon barrels, casks #808+811, 601 bottles) Five stars It’s quite a statement that Ian McLeod would still reduce their Ardbegs. Colour: white wine. Nose: total briny, medicinal, and slightly coal-tarry Ardbeg, typically ‘Ardbeg’, with no weird wood/wine influence whatsoever. Rather brine, seawater, tiger balm, embrocations, and all that. Clear, classy, and loud. Love it that they’ve kept it all ‘natural’. Mouth: it’s rather sweet, it’s certainly lemony, and believe me, it’s more medicinal that Laphroaig. It’s very salty too, very discretely gassy/tarry, and it’s got this bright fatness that screams ‘Ardbeg’. Some olives too. This wee baby reminds me of the first Airigh Nam Beist, if that rings a bell. Finish: long and rather smoky/almondy. Smoked almonds were often to be found in Ardbeg, in my humble experience. Very salty/tarry aftertaste, which is even more Ardbeg. Comments: there shouldn’t be much left from these pre-reopening batches that used to be made by the good Laphroaig people ‘to keep the equipment fit’. Excellent, if a little simpler then earlier vintages. SGP:467 - 90 points.

Ardbeg 25 yo 1991/2016 (49.8%, The Duchess, Shieldmaidens Malin, bourbon, 168 bottles)

Ardbeg 25 yo 1991/2016 (49.8%, The Duchess, Shieldmaidens Malin, bourbon, 168 bottles) Five stars A recent bottling by a wee Dutch company, and we all know that the Dutch know their Ardbeg. And their Shieldmaidens, apparently. What’s exactly a Shieldmaiden, by the way? Colour: gold. Nose: much, much rounder, and softer than the Chieftain’s, and that’s the bigger oak. But it’s also got this superb sourness that could be found in many an Ardbeg, something like old apple juice infused with hessian and just, yeah, coal tar. So it seems to be fatter, and even a little more manure-y. More from the countryside, if you prefer. Mouth: big and strong, very salty, and very ‘green’, in a good way. I’m finding capers, green olives, green liquorice, then a little lemon-flavoured sour cream and this dirtiness that works so well. In fact, it’s a little unlikely and yogurty, but that works extremely well. A great flaw, as they say (who, who says that?) And more capers, many more briny capers… Finish: very long, green, sharp, acidic, smoky, and very briny. The nose was a touch soft, this is sharp as a razorblade. Comments: it’s a very coastal Ardbeg, and not totally a peat monster. Some gentleness to be found beyond the very briny flavours. Now I’ve seen that the price was insane, but brokers are selling these casks for insane prices too. Everyone’s got insane. SGP:566 - 90 points.

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







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