Google Ardbeg because we should

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

May 1, 2018


Ardbeg because we should

On Labour Day! Now May 1st has particular significance to the French... Well, apparently, some distinguished friends (and dedicated Ardbeggistos) were shocked by the slightly moderate score I gave, not to the Grooves, rather to the Ar9 yesterday. Mind you, theses days, some excellent folks do take 84 points as they used to take 64 points just fifteen years ago. In my book, 84 is a good score! Anyway, it’s not that I’d like to amend anything – which I never do anyway – but perhaps could we do some kind of short follow-up session, now that the brand new Ar10 is out.  A way of trying to try to bury the hatchet, but will this work?... And first, as usual, a sparring partner…

Ardbeg 12 yo 2005/2018 (51.9%, North Star Spirits, refill bourbon hogshead, 332 bottles)

Ardbeg 12 yo 2005/2018 (51.9%, North Star Spirits, refill bourbon hogshead, 332 bottles) Four stars and a half
2005? This is clearly new regime Ardbeg, so this should be interesting. We’ve already tried these vintages but those were always bottled as ‘Kildalton’, or any other fancy name, never as Ardbeg if I remember well… Colour: pale white wine. Nose: a working kiln, peat smoke, burning oak, dried kelp, a touch of tarmac but less than in earlier decades vintages, new bicycle inner tube (as long as some bicycles still have inner tubes), perhaps a wee touch of phosphorus, bone-dry artisan cider… With water: wash, damp textile, sourdough, baker’s yeast and leaven… The cask’s been pretty lazy, and that has been a blessing. Mouth (neat): more extreme than I would have thought. Could you smoke a blend of grapefruit juice and ultra-ristretto coffee? It is extremely dry and bitter, and I really enjoy this. Noilly-Prat, Fernet-Branca, cold-distilled manzanilla (should anyone be crazy enough to do that)… With water: should you add enough water down to approx 15% vol., you would get manzanilla. Mustard, smoke, salt, seawater. Finish: very long, extremely sooty and ashy. Remember you just had the ashtray? Comments: extreme and good. So extremely good, but please do not try to pour this to total beginners.
SGP:268 - 89 points.

Ar10 2001/2018 (52.4%, Elixir Distillers, Elements of Islay, bourbon barrels)

Ar10 2001/2018 (52.4%, Elixir Distillers, Elements of Islay, bourbon barrels) Five stars
Picture's a mockup.
Ah, some good bourbon barrels, no clashes of the titans to be expected here, I suppose! Colour: gold. Nose: a really rather extraordinary combination of soft natural vanilla (ground pods) with the most beautifully zesty lemony/herbal/coastal peat. There are even drops of mezcal and Jamaican rum dancing around your olfactory bulb (what?) together with iodine and tiny ‘acidic’ herbs, lemongrass, oyster flowers, some kind of oriental camphory embrocations… Wow, really, wow! With water: there, tarmac, tyres, fisherman’s ropes, charcoal… Mouth (neat): punches you a bit right between your ears at first, with an admirable grittiness just like when you forgot to peel all of the skin off your grapefruit, and gets then rather luminously citrusy, salty, and of course ashy. Bigly ashy. With water: same-ish, which doesn’t mean that it does not benefit from reduction. Finish: very long, you just had the other ashtray, plus a whole glass of concentrated limejuice. Comments: they have not used very active vanilla-forward barrels, which is just great. Fantastic, almost explosive Ardbeg and, in a way, the exact opposite of Ar9. Remember when we were calling these ‘peat bombs’?
SGP:458 - 92 points.

Phew… And there will be more Ardbeg very soon.

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


Whiskyfun fav of the month

April 2018

Favourite recent bottling:
Caol Ila 35 yo 1982/2017 (58.4%, Cadenhead’s Small Batch for The Auld Alliance Singapore)- WF 93

Favourite older bottling:
Very Old Fitzgerald 8 yo 1958/1966 (43%, OB, for Germany, Kentucky Straight Bourbon) - WF 94

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:

Favourite malternative:
South Pacific 15 yo 2001/2016 (58%, Cave Guildive, Fiji, bourbon) - WF 91






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