Ardbeg, the iconic Islay malt, has released a bunch of new expressions recently. From the affordable Wee Beastie to the rare (and nearly sold out) Traigh Bhan, the distillery character shines through every bottling.
Ardbeg 19 year old – Traigh Bhan – Batch 2 – 46,2%
Colour : Pale gold with lemony hues. But closer to brass.
Nose : Mineral (sun warmed pebbles) with a smooth creamy note, hint of lemon. Refreshing dill whiff. Smoke is light and aerial. A distant floral note (gorse, wild rose ?). Just a touch of turkish delight.
With water more smoke and a bog myrtle aroma.
Palate : Silky at start then bursting out into a wave of salty smoked flavours. Dances on the tongue. Smoked fish and also juicy fruit. Pineapple and citrus fruit. Very active in your mouth.
Water cuts the edges and enhances the silky feel. bringing out an earthy touch and a touch of tar.
Finish : Soothes on aniseed and licorice notes. Salted almond aftertaste.
On the hand : Marine and smoky. Oyster shell, a touch of creosote.
A dram which goes round the clock, from smooth to wild, from sweet to pungent, from silky to dry.
With sand between its toes and brine in its hair…
Wonderful with a 30 month old parmigiano
Ardbeg 19 year old – Traigh Bhan – Batch 3 – 46,2%
Colour : Pale gold with green hues. But closer to brass.
Nose: Rich, citrussy. Juicy fruit (grapefruit). Intense, complex. Hint of tar. Smoke stays in the back. A mineral touch.
With water, more citrussy.
Palate : Silky (raw silk). Big marine whiff with spices dancing on the tongue. A creamy note follows. Chilli. Gives a warm feel.
With water, spicier.
Finish : Dry with a smoky note.
Match : A lamb tajine
Ardbeg 8 years old – “For discussion” – 50,8%
Colour : Lemony pale gold
Nose: Fresh, citrussy. Intense. Sooty. Charcoal embers. Hint of smoked meat. Touch of vanilla.
With water, a briny note.
Palate: Satin-like, smooth. Lots of soot and smoke. Fresh mint. Cough losanges. The alcohol is perfectly tamed. Lemon posset. Sweet maltiness. Drying on a leafy note.
Finish : Dry, leafy, short.
With water, tends to be astrngent.
The nose is more enticing than the palate. A bit undimensional.
I can’t really find any ex-sherry influence here.
Ardbeg – Wee Beastie – 5 year old – 47,4%
Colour: Morning gold with lemony hues.
Nose: An immediate smoky and sooty whiff, charged with tar, creosote and seaweeds. A distant vanilla touch. And a citrussy hint. Large, uncompromising Islay tough sailor! Then meaty notes with a peppery touch.
On time a sweeter note of toasted marshmallow swirls up.
Water enhances the smoky profile and brings out an orange peel note.
Palate : Sweet at start then exploding into a spicy, sooty vivacious burst, lined with licorice and mint. The meaty character unveils smoked spicy sausage notes.
Finish: Soothing on a refreshing minty note.
Water brings out more citrus and vanilla and also a dry sooty character.
An uplifting uncomplicated whisky, to be enjoyed outdoors as well as indoors. Tangled up in smoke !
with oysters or black pudding