Yesterday was the 14th rebirthday of Ardbeg distillery. On June 20th, 1997 they started distilling again at the iconic Islay distillery and that had to be celebrated!
While I haven’t been the biggest fan of some recent bottlings (Rollercoaster, Blasda) there have been some tremendous drams in the past. Of course, ancient Ardbegs from the 70’s need no introduction, but since my wallet strongly disagrees with them, they won’t be part of my collection anytime soon.
Ardbeg Uigeadail 2005, 54.2% (from the Peat Pack)
The nose starts with salt and ash, dried grass and heather. There is lots of light and old smoke as well. The taste is sharp with fierce stinging smoke, a slight creamy texture with lavender and heather. The finish isn’t too long and not much new happens. Just before it fades a massive note of burnt wood and charcoal comes by.
I thought this was the 10 year old, didn’t read the label very wel… I barely picked up some sweetness of the sherry cask. This might be because I have had the sample half empty for a year or two, but it surprised me. Still a very good Ardbeg nonetheless.
Ardbeg Renaissance, 2008, 55.9%
Lots of smoke, strong ashy notes, but this time accompanied by some vanilla sweetness. Does get a bit stale after half an hour. The palate is sharp with heathery flowers, smoke, salt and sand. Also some dry peat, but a very beachy feel to it. The finish is exactly what I expect from a 10 year old Ardbeg, and given the cask strength its even stronger.
I completely forgot about this bottle. Not that I didn’t remember about buying it and not finishing it yet, but the quality is something that eluded me. I bought it in a time at which I wasn’t overly enjoying peaty whiskies I guess. Anyway, this one’s back!
Ardbeg Corryvreckan, 2008, Committee Bottling, 57.1%
The nose starts of rather smooth, but Ardbeggy. There is some chardonnay thing going on, sweet white wine. Also a tad salty and sharp in the back of your nose. The taste is dry and chalky with a heap of pepper and warming peat smoke. In some way this still feels like a light whisky. The finish has some vanilla, a tad sweet and not as sharp as the others. Very, very nice!