Ardbeg

Ardbeg Bourbon Cask (~53%, Warehouse Sample, 2014)

Ardbeg Bourbon Cask (single cask sample)

~ 52-54% ABV / ~10-12 Years Old

Score: 84/100

What they say:

Ardbeg single cask sample, bourbon cask matured provided by Ardbeg Distillery

Ardbeg Distillery and Me

What I say:

Should have paid more attention at school! Too busy being distracted by the beautiful distillery and its surroundings during our whistle-stop tour. To make up for lack of tasting time (though to be fair we were provided with a dram of Uigeadail with lunch plus a dram of Galileo & Blasda after the tour) we were provisioned with 3 bottles of single cask samples all of the same ABV and Age (both of which I am wildly guessing at as I really can’t remember the exact details) however I am very sure they were each matured in either Bourbon, French Oak or Sherry casks; representative of the building blocks of both the Uigeadail [Bourbon + Sherry cask] or Corryvreckan [Bourbon + French Oak cask] expressions. I opted to sample them in the order Bourbon>French Oak>Sherry in an attempt to preserve my palate and expecting increasing influences of the casks used. This is what I thought of the Bourbon cask matured Ardbeg

Colour:

Very pale light straw gold, highly refractive (Paler than Ardbeg Blasda)

Nose:

‘High’ or sweet Acetone and estery like nail polish and over-ripe banana, malty and strongly lactic (aroma’s I more associate with Lagavulin but have come to recognize in Ardbeg –  with more malt than lactic [usually!]) vanilla and coconut cream, smoky ash

Taste:

Peaty, woody oak, malty yeasty marmite, nutmeg and cinnamon spice, brown sugar and toffee sweetness, peanut satay and coconut cream

Finish:

Long mixture of peat and oak with creamy coconut

Would I buy it:

Sadly not actually for sale, I really enjoyed this Ardbeg cask sample, the only drawback was the peat smoke on the nose had a slightly smoldering ash or dirty ashtray quality (more akin to Caol Ila peaty influence) though the palate and finish were sublime. If anything this sample was like a cask strength version of the ever-popular Ardbeg 10 Year Old expression. A very fine and solid dram with a more reserved mini-monster of peat influence, delicious.

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