Ardbeg 19yo Traigh Bhan, Batch 2
ABV: 46.2%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°°°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: ex-Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry Casks

 

Colour: Deep gold.
Nose: Sweetish on the nose with wood smoke and BBQ notes, accompanied by some soot and ashes. This is joined by fruity aromas of grilled apricot and pineapple, with some burnt toast in the background.
Palate: A slight sweetness is noticeable on the palate with creamy vanilla and fruity notes of apricot. Pleasantly warming with a fine spiciness of oak, allspice and a hint of celery. The whole is accompanied by subtle peat smoke as well as some ashes and chimney air. A touch of tangy lime and some roasted peanut aromas linger towards the finish.
Finish: The finish shows a nice length with warming notes of peat smoke, some dry oak and slightly burnt caramel.
With water: Much more intense in the nose after adding a few drops of water. Smoke and peat are more evident, accompanied by medicinal notes and a touch of celery. The fruit aromas fade into the background. On the palate, only a subtle sweetness is noticeable, but clearly spicier with black pepper, accompanied by peat smoke and soot. Burnt caramel with subtle peanut aromas linger towards the finish. The finish is of medium length with clearly dry oak, ash and fine peat smoke.
Comments: An Ardbeg tamed by almost two decades of maturation that knows how to please. Very well balanced with a complexity and great harmony of aromas resulting from the different cask types. Smoke and peat are pleasant companions of grilled fruit aromas and nicely warming spicy notes from the wood.

 

I thank Moët Hennessy Germany for the complimentary sample and the image!


Ardbeg Blaaack, Committee 20th Anniversary Limited Edition
ABV: 46%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: Pinot Noir Wine Casks

 

Colour: Reddish amber.
Nose: The nose starts with aromas of BBQ, bacon and sooty chimney air. Sweet notes of vanilla and orange are added. Over time, peaty notes emerge, paired with black smoked ham, some pepper and oak.
Palate: Sweetish and slightly spicy on the palate with smoke, vanilla cream, citrus and a touch of orange. Then warming spices with oak, cloves and allspice, combined with dark chocolate, slightly medicinal notes, peat, soot and old leather.
Finish: The finish shows a medium length with creamy vanilla, fruity orange, cold smoke, some peat, notes of black smoked meat and a whiff of soot.
With water: After the addition of a few drops of water, the nose is a little fresher with chimney air, soot, medicinal notes and a little vanilla in the background. Very dry on the palate. Creamy with some orange fruit and vanilla. Then spicy notes of oak, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Smoky with some peat and soot. The finish is medium long, dry and slightly warming with subtle medicinal notes, oak and a touch of smoke.
Comments: A rich, full-bodied and varied Ardbeg. The influence of the red wine casks is not too dominant here. I especially like the harmony of vanilla sweetness, orange fruit and the smoky, bacony-sooty notes. An Ardbeg, the way it tastes to me.

 

I thank Moët Hennessy Germany for the complimentary sample and the image!


Ardbeg 5yo, Wee Beastie
ABV: 47.4%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °
Bottling: Distillery (The Ultimate)
Cask type: --

 

Colour: Gold.
Nose: A sweet start on the nose, followed by meaty flavours, BBQ and a good deal of peat smoke. Herbal notes spread, along with pine resin, black pepper and warming wood fire. Over time, sweet again as well as fruity with orange oil and creamy vanilla.
Palate: Powerful start on the palate. Oily, then peppery and warming. Tar oil, aniseed and cloves dominate at first, before sweet notes of vanilla and milk chocolate appear. The sweetness fades away with fine peat smoke towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is medium long, oily, spicy and slightly warm with subtle notes of tar, peat, smoke, pepper and a little dry oak. Salty caramel has a pleasant aftertaste.
With water: By adding a few drops of water, this young Ardbeg becomes stronger and somehow more pungent on the nose with more peat smoke, but also a bit more vanilla sweetness. Prickling and slightly peppery on the palate. Less warming with a touch of peat smoke, but clearly more vanilla sweetness and orange fruit. The finish is of medium length, oily and a bit herbal with fine smoke and some tar oil.
Comments: A young, typical and really convincing Ardbeg. The "Wee Beastie" is amazingly round and harmonious despite its tender age.  Powerful, oily and creamy on the palate with a nice sequence of flavours typical of Islay as well as sweet and fruity accents. Really drinkable - even after adding a few drops of water: nothing dominates, nothing imposes itself. An all-day dram!

 

I thank Moët Hennessy Germany for the complimentary sample and the image!


Ardbeg Blaaack, Committee Release
ABV: 50.7%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: Pinot Noir Wine Casks

 

Colour: Reddish amber.
Nose: For an Ardbeg very subtle smoke at first, followed by a spicy sweetness with dark grapes, grilled bananas and some BBQ sauce. A hint of ripe peach, paired with tobacco notes and cloves. Towards the end a little more peat smoke and a bit of cowshed atmosphere.
Palate: First a fruity and sweet start, which immediately faces a spicy and peppery punch. Red grapes and cherries mix with grilled fruit and crispy bacon, seasoned with crushed black pepper and cloves. This is all wrapped in fine peat smoke with a slightly bitter fruity wine note towards the finish.
Finish: A medium to long finish with a fruity residual sweetness that gradually leaves room for dry oak, allspice and ash. Cold peat smoke lingers for a long time.
With water: A little fresher on the nose after adding a few drops of water. Spicy fruit aromas mix with delicious BBQ notes, accompanied by more peat smoke and distinct cowshed aromas. Clearly tamed on the palate with prickling fruit sweetness of grapes and cherries. Only a little peppery spiciness, surrounded by cold peat smoke. The finish is of medium length, slightly warming and fruity sweet. A little drier towards the end with oak, ash and peat smoke.
Comments: A really atypical Ardbeg - and I liked it very much. Not the bold peat smoke, citrus fruit and cowshed atmosphere, but fine, yet clearly perceptible wine and fruit aromas, which are wonderfully balanced with the spice of the casks and the perfectly integrated Islay peat smoke. An Islay dram, which, either neat or with a few drops of water, immediately takes you to the shores of this Hebridean island.

 

I thank Moët Hennessy Germany for the complimentary sample and the image!


 Ardbeg Grooves, Committee Release
ABV: 51.6%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: Finished in Charred Wine Casks

 

Colour: Reddish amber.
Nose: Right at the beginning sweet peat smoke, accompanied by medical notes and some cold ash. Then smoked bacon arrives, nicely mixed with mouthwatering BBQ notes and delicious tinned apricots. Spicy hints of tobacco leaves, leather and nutmeg in the background. Overall very appealing.
Palate: Strong on the palate with smoke and peat. Warming spices come through, such as cracked black pepper, dry oak, nutmeg and a hint of salt. Oily, slightly medicinal with a touch of ashes. Then sweet and creamy fruity notes of apricots and grapes take over. The dram's becoming increasingly juicier with a pleasant warmth towards the finish, wrapped in lingering peat smoke.
Finish: The finish is medium long and warm with dry oak, subtle ashes and a touch of creamy sticky fruit jam.
With water: Water enhances the ashy and smoky character of this dram while the pleasant sweetness is pushed in the background. Still sweet and fruity on the palate with apricots and grapes. Slightly warm with tamed spices, ashes and a whiff of peat smoke. The finish is rather short, creamy with a hint of sticky apricot jam and black pepper on the tail.
Comments: Wow - I am impressed! A strong, full-bodied Ardbeg with a great combination of peat, smoked bacon and sweet fruit notes. Nicely complex, warming and full-bodied. An excellent taste experience in which the finish could have been a bit longer. But I liked it very much and to me, this is a very successful Ardbeg Committee bottling.


Ardbeg Corryvreckan, Distillery Bottling
ABV: 57.1%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: American and French Oak Casks

 

Colour: Rich gold.
Nose: Very intense and powerful on the nose. Sweet peat smoke mixed with cherry-derived flavours and delicate fruity elements. Lemons arrive with blackcurrant and a touch of slightly bitter orange peel. Sugar sweetness and fine marzipan notes linger with dark chocolate and a maritime briny character of seaweed and some spicy notes in the back. Very appetising..
Palate: A pleasantly sweet start on the palate with a delicate fruity aroma of peach jam and tangerine, followed by gentle peat smoke and a huge depth of mouth filling spices - pepper, cloves, and tannic oak. A dry texture which enhances the alcohol bite. Prickling oak and very peppery on the tongue. Medicinal flavours add to the warming spiciness, mixed with liquorice and some nice lemon flavours. Dark chocolate, walnut and cocoa notes linger towards a dry finish. Exceedingly mouthfilling.
Finish: The finish is very long and powerful with lots of warming spices. There’s a continuously switch between medicinal flavours, peat, pepper, black tarry coffee, and sea salt. Extremely fascinating.
With water: Water enhances the sweetness on the nose, bringing more citrus fruit to the fore. The peat smoke and medicinal flavours are tamed with water. There’s immediately sweetness and a massive hit of warming spiciness on the palate with delicate peat smoke and dry notes of chocolate and walnuts. The finish is long, sweet with lingering peat smoke and a delicate medicinal edge on the tail.
Comments: Astonishing! A brilliant whisky - very complex, rich and powerful. Well balanced, intense and mouth-watering with an excellent combination of sweetness, citrus fruit, peat, smoke, warming spice and medicinal flavour. Water opens it up very nicely. Great value for your money. A venturesome journey into Corryvreckan!

 


Ardbeg 1815, 33yo, 1974/1975, Limited Release
ABV: 50.1%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°°°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: Bourbon and Sherry Casks (400 btl.)

 

Colour: Amber.
Nose: Amazingly sweet with only a slight medicinal touch. Incredibly concentrated aromas: sherry, luscious plums, smoke, lanolin, dark chocolate and lemony fruitiness in perfect balance and harmony with the oily malt. Rich, soft, oily, and ever-present smokiness. Very appetising.
Palate: Lively, evocative, sherry flavours with a distinct medicinal edge. Bold and intense with plums and citrus fruit, complemented by lanolin and lingering spices - oak, black pepper and cloves. Soft malt and dark chocolate with salty spray and tender peatiness in the back. Simply brilliant!
Finish: Very long and sweet with luscious fruit and dark chocolate. Creamy, treacle and some tar with tender peat and dry roasted coffee on the tail.
With water: Water enhances the peatiness both on the nose and palate. Lively, quite vibrant. Crisp oak and medicinal flavours blend well with the fruitiness of the sherry cask. The finish is long, sweet and lingering peaty.
Comments: One of the best Ardbegs I have ever tasted. Full range of the distillery's typical flavours, beautifully tamed by the delicious aromas of the sherry cask. Lyrically combined and very well balanced. So complex on the nose and palate, that everyone likes it. A glorious experience at an exorbitant price though!

 

I thank Hendrik Kappler for the sample!