This is a true classic from Ardbeg, pronounced ‘Oog-a-dahl’, named for the distillery’s water source. A non-age stated expression from their core range matured in both bourbon and sherry casks, and always bottled at a high ABV for huge flavour.
There has been a fair amount of talk saying that the quality of this has gone down as of late, due to the dwindling supply of Ardbeg’s older casks, which made up a fair amount of this expression.It still is a fantastic whisky however and well worthy of a place on any peathead’s shelf.
Aged 3 years*. 54,2%ABV. Matured in bourbon and sherry casks. No colourant added and non-chill filtered.
*for lack of age statement
Nose: Earthy peat. Mineral rock. New leather. Some anise. Bit of sherry pushing through. Seaweed and dirty socks (that good Islay kind). Coffee. Bit of freshly laid road tar. Tobacco ash. Adding water brings out some more briny and sea side notes as well as some oak and fresh toast.
Palate: Big peat blast. Beautifully thick leather and smoke. A bit of malt is hanging around after the smoke clears, developing into some fruity sherry notes. Adding some water changes the order around, starting with the sweet sherry notes and developing into the smoke and leather.
Finish: Takes off right as the sherry on the palate disappears and flows wonderfully into chewy leather, dark earthy peat and rich cigar smoke. Adding water makes the woody notes carry on through the finish and leaves a taste of wine and that cough syrup you used to like as a kid in the back of the throat .
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
This is a lovely whisky and it’s quite what all the hype is about. The sherry adds a really nice dimension to the big, brutish peat here.