I tasted quite a few Ardbegs in the last days, and since the mighty Islay destillery released its annual fetish bottling, I thought if everyone and their mother has an opinion on it, you can also read mine. Lets see…
Ardbeg Grooves Committee Release 2018 / 51.6 % Vol.
Prototypical Ardbeg peatsmoke and salted lemons, mixed with orange peel and red berries. Vanilla icecream and salted caramel. Not too complex, rather mellow and somehow closed nose. Not very impressive but not bad either. A few drops of water and a bit of time help open it up. The orangepeel and berries start to shine now. Inviting!
Bold arrival. Quite sweet and zesty on orange peel, wood spices and of course some maritime peatsmoke and salted lemons. The fruityness reminds me of classic english orangejam. Develops into more leathery and peppery aromas. Sadly, a rather short finish with some oriental spices like cedarwood, nutmeg and cinnamon. A nice oaky bitterness lingers together with salted lemons.
This one delivers on the palate. While the nose is kinda soft (which is still a good thing), on the palate its a whole different story. A very moreish ‘beg. I think it has lots to offer and is different enough without being too weird (like the marketing suggested). I am happy to have bought it. Much better then last years Kelpie virgin oak desaster. Next year caribbean Arrrdbeg? 😉 /88
Here’s the rest of the party!
This is a cuvée of different Ardbeg vintages, finished in a private bodega sherry cask. Thx to Pit and the Regensburger Whiskyclub we can try some of their weird and beautyful experiments from time to time.
Ozone, subdued and well matured peatsmoke, blonde tobacco, orange peel, old leather, shoe polish, toasted wood, oldschool sherry profile, not overtly px-ed. More nutty than plain sweet. Gets saltier with more time in the glas. It manages to show different facets everytime you come back to it. Its great fun but also a little hard to pin down.
Much sweeter than the nose. Great impact. Oranges again, typical ardbeggian seaweed and brine, dark chocolate, after eight dinner mints in the long finish. Maybe just a little cloying, but nothing too disturbing. Its simply delicious!
The nose and taste are deep, rich and complex. The sherryoak is quite dominant but very well integrated. This is one of the finest independent Ardbegs I could taste so far. Needs time in the glass to develop. So be patient, add a drop of water and you will be rewarded. /89
Ardbeg MoS 16016 /54.8 % Vol.
Loads of Sherry to begin with. Raisins, beef jerky, leatherboots, some rancio, old style cough medicine. A fireplace thats almost burned down. A little sulphur. This one needs time to let the typical ardbeggian salted lemons and seaweed find their way through the sherrymuddle.
Tar and peatsmoke battle with the sherry and toasted oak. Lindt’s seasalt chocolate served alongside an espresso! Some exhaust fumes and sherry linger in the medium long finish.
A nice bottling. Would love to see more of these at affordable prices (yeah, right…). Certainly one to crack open and enjoy! /89
Ardbeg MoS Amazing Casks 14027 /58.2 % Vol.
It bites your nostrils when undiluted. Very sharp and alcoholic. This one needs water! After some time, it opens up. Dry sherry, seaweed, briny seashore, marzipan, roasted hazelnuts, some wet cardboard, burnt driftwood. The nose is still kinda closed.
Prickles on the tongue. Sweet and sour, oranges, lemonpeel, soysauce, salted caramel, sweet popcorn, a rush of ultra-black peatsmoke coats my mouth, walnuts appear, cardboardy in the finish. Slightly odd. The salt stayed on my lips after I swallowed.
I honestly don’t know why they named this one the “amazing” cask. It is a good one no doubt, but definetly not better than the other MoS in the flight. Too expensive for what it has to offer. /88
Ardbeg Dark Cove Committee Release 2016 /55.0 % Vol.
Much more “Ardbeg” right away. Lemons sprinkled with seasalt, fishy peatsmoke, seabreeze, ozone, road tar, burnt twigs, pineneedles, incense, wet earth, mushrooms, hints of px-sherry emerge, a dry tobacco pouch, old leatherjacket, beef stock and some plumjam. Love this nose!
Ardbeg! Peaty and savoury, menthol cough medicine, slightly chemical (in a good way). Reminds me of Fishermens Friends, of whom I’m addicted to (the green ones, of course). The sherry comes through in the chocolaty and mentholated finish. Not too complex, but everything sings in tune, so to speak.
Pheew, I have to say, I simply adore this one. Its the best official Ardbeg in ages, and I think its highly underrated. This has everything I expect from a modern Ardbeg. I’m also glad that they did not drown it in sherry. The “darkest Ardbeg ever” is obviously marketing drivel, but this bottle keeps on giving. /90
I also compared it with the 46% release of Dark Cove afterwards.
Everything is a bit dialed down. The fishy peatsmoke comes out first on the nose, followed by a more pronounced and slightly chemical sweetness. Also good stuff, but the whole experience is a bit more tannic and lacks the assertiveness and intensity of the committee release. Nonetheless it’s worth buying and enjoying if you can still find it for a reasonable price. /86
More Ardbegs soon… 😉