Google Little Duos, today ex-barrel Ardbeg

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

November 1, 2021


Little Duos, today ex-barrel Ardbeg

Between the new Bentley and the opportunity to have some kind of hot chowder with local sausage and a dram at the Old Kiln Café with friends, I know what I'd choose and that sure wouldn't have four wheels and a very lousy carbon footprint. We'll go independent-Glenmo-era Ardbeg this time, we might have some newer OBs later on. We'll see, there are so many new whiskies…


Ardbeg 2001/2021 (46.6%, OB for Wu Dram Clan, bourbon barrel, cask #348, 155 bottles)

Ardbeg 2001/2021 (46.6%, OB for Wu Dram Clan, bourbon barrel, cask #348, 155 bottles) Five stars
Ardbeg made under new owners Glenmorangie plc. before they had sold on to LVMH who had outbidden Pernod in or around 2004. But enough hi-flyin' finance… Colour: light gold. Nose: but naturally, fish oils, tar, tyres, lemons and crushed bitter almonds. Look how life is simple! Mouth: I'm realising that this more or less bears the age of the first stunning 1970s single casks, and that it's got a similar kind of impact on us. Extraordinary fatness, earthiness, herbalness, tarriness, lemonness and lochness (surely the lousiest joke ever on this wee website, I know I need to apologise but this wee 'beg just put me in a great mood). The most striking aspect here is that it is 'one'. Love the fattish tarry side and yet the light, almost refreshing coastal lemonness. Great combination, pretty 'obvious'. Finish: long, rather sublime. Balance is absolutely perfect and I'm even finding roasted pine nuts in the aftertaste, of which I could wolf down half a ton without blinking an eye. Comments: the only problem with the great Ardbegs is that, think about it, you can only have your very first one once (really, diving to new lows, S.) A superb cask, Ardbeg is alive!
SGP:467 - 92 points.

Wait, ite Missa non est…

Ardbeg 21 yo 1999/2020 (58.2%, Kingsbury for Club Qing Hong Kong, bourbon barrel)

Ardbeg 21 yo 1999/2020 (58.2%, Kingsbury for Club Qing Hong Kong, bourbon barrel) Five stars
The names Ardbeg and Kingsbury together mean a lot in whisky geekery. This was already whisky made by pre-LVMH Glenmorangie. A little story while we're here, I remember we hated it when we first flew to the Distillery after LVMH had bought it, I believe that was for Feis 2005. They were flying a French flag over the Distillery – so much for our 'holidays'! Colour: straw. Nose: 21 yo, that reminds me of 'that' Committee release! Anyway, this is an even purer, less tarry/fattish style of Ardbeg, more on sea elements, kelp, oysters, menthol, with a little tabasco, branches and roots, wild carrots, then plasticine and paraffin, drawing gum, brake fluid… Actually, there's a wonderful complexity here, despite the rather high strength. A little less 'immediate' than the 2001, perhaps. With water: oh, tarred bandages and cold sorrel soup! How Ardbeg is that? Mouth (neat): oh, peppers plus camphor, salty vegetables, smoky oils, more plasticine, 'almond' glue (Coccoina), hints of paprika (certainly goulash), limoncello, a little icing sugar… A rather restless Ardbeg when water's not been added yet. With water: I believe the cask had been a little less active than that of the 2001. Some stunning honey coming through now – honey in Ardbeg? Rather honeydew, in act or fir honey. Stunning indeed. Finish: long, resinous, lemony, very elegant. Cough syrup and a little pink pepper in the aftertaste. Szechuan pepper. Comments: I just could not tell you which one I liked best; I'd need a double-magnum of each to be able to make-up my mind. What makes you think that's wishful thinking?
SGP:557 - 92 points.

Really, tasting some moderately-oaked well-aged Ardbegs is not unlike going back see Botticelli at the Offices or Rothko at the MoMA.

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







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