Google Ardbeg because we must

Serge whiskyfun
Thousands of tastings,
all the music,
all the rambligs
and all the fun


Facebook Twitter Logo
Guaranteed ad-free
copyright 2002-2017


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

April 30, 2018


Ardbeg because we must

Her comes slowhand whisky blogger, with the latest Beach Boys-y Ardbeg that just everyone on this little planet has already tried at least three times. It’s called Boozes… No, Grooves. What have they invented this time? Apparently, ‘Peat, Love and Dosh’, but let’s see… Oh and some strange stuff may have happened with the wood, like charring some red-wine-flavoured casks or something…

Ardbeg ‘Grooves’ (51.6%, OB, Committee Release, 2018)

Ardbeg ‘Grooves’ (51.6%, OB, Committee Release, 2018) Four stars
I should write something about the Grateful Dead now, shouldn’t I? I agree, the answer’s no and sadly The Dead isn't NAS. . Colour: gold. Nose: pinewood smoke, kid’s toothpaste, smoked strawberries, blood oranges, red pesto, ginger liqueur. Feels extremely young, but everything’s coherent, I have to say. Whiffs of cow stable coming though after a while. Szechuan pepper. What you feel is that this is not at all about the distillate, it’s all about the flavouring. Why not? With water: the oak really comes out, this could be 3 yo American craft whisky, really. Mouth (neat): read my lips, I think this is good. It hasn’t got much to do with ‘Ardbeg’ as we knew it anymore, but the woodworks were done well and the final concoction remains balanced and appealing. Oak spices galore, most being sweet and even fruity. More Szechuan pepper, soft curry, perhaps even the sweetest kimchi, clementines… With water: oysters served with redcurrant jelly and sweet Tabasco. No real Ardbegness that I can compute. Finish: long, gingery, Schweppesy, cinnamony. Cranberry Schweppes, does that exist? Comments: totally un-terroiry softer Ardbeg, but there, they made it well, as expected. Plus, you know, terroir and Scotch whisky, that’s really love and hate… Now, an Ardbeg Ten over this, anytime!
SGP:656 - 85 points.

Good, what should we do now? Perhaps try to find an all-natural Ardbeg, and then an heavily oak-influenced one, what do you say?

Ardbeg 25 yo 1991/2016 (48.2%, Douglas Laing, Xtra Old Particular, cask #11179, 207 bottles)

Ardbeg 25 yo 1991/2016 (48.2%, Douglas Laing, Xtra Old Particular, cask #11179, 207 bottles) Five stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: right. This is Ardbeg, much subtler, much more coastal, much more medicinal, with more tar, soot, oysters (without any whacky sauce mind you), new rubber boots, carbon paper, fern, farmyard after a heavy rain, sea breezes, fresh white bread, working kiln (but they never actually work, do they), green olives, bitter almonds, sardine paste… This is Chopin after Mariah Carey, really. Mouth: a totally massive - which I wasn’t expecting – salty and tarry combo, with more sardines, new plastic and rubber, olives and capers, smoked almonds, drinking ink, smoked mussels (the Belgians may have something to do with that), asparagus, artichokes, more olives… This baby just leaves you breathless. And yet, it’s only a 1991, not even a 1972-1976. Sweet Vishnu! Finish: speaking about sweetness, it’s getting a tad rounder and, indeed, sweeter now, but it’ll remain totally Ardbeggian all along. Comments: that it would have killed the Grooves was to be expected, but remember not all early 1990s Ardbegs have been great. This very one was, though. What’s more, there is a troubling feeling of seeing a great performer for the last time. You know, like a farewell tour…
SGP:467 - 91 points.

Ar9 (51.6%, Specialty Drinks, Elements of Islay, Feis Isle 2017, 1st fill oloroso)

Ar9 (51.6%, Specialty Drinks, Elements of Islay, Feis Isle 2017, 1st fill oloroso) Three stars and a half
First fill oloroso and a heavy peater? Works brilliantly in… 6.8647745267% of the cases in my miserable experience, but that combo also generated a few stunners in the past, so let’s see… Excuse me? Indeed, I’m very late again, but as a proper independent whisky blogger, you can’t only taste Ardbeg, you also have to taste Allt-A-Bhainne and Speyburn. By the way, this ought to be Ardbeg, cannot be Ardnahoe... yet. Anyway… Colour: deep gold. Nose: you take peaty whisky, you further cold-smoke using beech or birch, you add the pencil shavings produced within a whole year by the French administration, and you add three (not two, not four) big black raisins like they have in Smyrna/Izmir. With water: smoked pencils, really. Mouth (neat): Crayola, green oranges and green tomatoes, soot, concentrated lapsang souchong, that spicy sauce that no one’s ever touching in any Cambodian restaurant (because it would wreck your night), and the blackest black/bitter chocolate. This is something! With water: a little more brine, olives, smoked cockles… Finish: long, relatively oaky, and rather very chocolaty. Comments: a kind of maduro-ed Ardbeg. Different territories, this heavy-ish thing may need thirty further years of bottle ageing, if you ask me…
SGP:367 - 84 points.

(Many thanks Alex and Fabien!)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Ardbeg we've tasted so far






Whiskyfun's Home
Whiskyfun's Facebook page Whiskyfun's Twitter page Whiskyfun's RSS feed