The Darkest Ardbeg Ever!
According to Ardbeg that is. It’s a very strange statement since there are plenty of darker Ardbegs out there, both from independent bottlers and Ardbeg themselves. So marketing nonsense to get people hyped up.
In the current political climate of ‘alternative facts’ this still works its magic since there was no shortage of people getting enthused by this release last year. That people were posting pictures on Facebook and Twitter with darker Ardbegs from other bottlings didn’t matter one bit.
But, as with all releases since Ardbeg invented the Ardbeg Embassies, I didn’t buy this one. Not necessarily because of that fact, but mostly because I generally find the releases to be overpriced for the quality of booze you’re getting. Like yesterday’s Talisker, with Ardbeg there’s the Uigeadail. That’s a tremendous Ardbeg that’s also from sherry casks and clocks in at about 60% of this ones initial RRP.
Smoked oranges at first, which reminds me of a Smoking Barrels beer from The Wild Beer Company I tried last year. That beer also had quite some salt in there, and that too compares to this Ardbeg. Some oak with lots of sweet citrus notes. Also, the typical Ardbeg notes of band-aids, oil and ash.
The palate starts sweet and fruity, a bit rum like. Slightly sharper than the nose made me expect. Oak, ash, smoke and oranges again. Quite dirty, in a good way. Slightly salty and medicinal, with hints of band-aids again.
The finish is quite different, with it being far less pronounced in its flavors. The typical Ardbeggy notes overpower the rest. It’s sweet, smoky and there’s some oak.
Somehow, while Ardbeg is doing pretty well I think, they seem to be missing out on the hype that is whisky at the moment. They were at it before the massive interest peak started a decade ago, but somehow they can’t catch the public’s attention. By that I mean that while they release actually limited editions they don’t sell out. Highland Park and the likes seem to have no trouble asking ridiculous prices for underwhelming whiskies, Ardbeg releases at a much more decent price just sit on the shelves.
Maybe it’s because they’re NAS releases while a lot of Highland Park’s have an age statement? Maybe people DO want to know what they’re drinking, contrary to what sales rep are trying to convince us of?
Anyway, in this case, and with most Ardbegs I’ve tried over the last couple of years it’s actually pretty surprising. This is a very decent whisky, like Ardbog, Corryvreckan, and to a slightly lesser degree the Ardbeg Day release from 2012 and Auriverdes. The one I likes least was the Perpetuum and Galileo, I think.
It’s got an especially interesting nose and palate, with the hints of oranges and medicinal stuff. But, as said above, the Uigeadail is better and cheaper.
Ardbeg Dark Cove, Dark Sherry Casks, 46.5%. Available online for some € 115