Ardbeg 33 Years Old 1975 (52.3%, OB, Sherry Butt #1376, 415 Bottles, 2008)
Islay single malt scotch whisky
52.3% ABV, HKD 12800 (~ £1030) for 70cl
What they say:
Distilled at Ardbeg on 28th March 1975 and filled into a single sherry butt. This expression was matured for over 33 years before bottling on 10th June 2008. On outturn 415 bottles were produced at cask strength of 52.3% produced for Hong Kong Duty Free.
Many thanks to The Ardbeg Project for image/data.
What I say:
The 7th and final dram of the Royal Mile Whiskies hosted evening with Dr Bill Lumsden celebrating 200 years of Ardbeg tasting ended with this 33 year old single cask expression from the private collection of the Moet-Hennessy representative at the tasting.
Deep ruby amber (15/20) medium-large droplet tears with very light/fine trails
Comfy/well-worn old leather couch, dates, figs, molasses, treacle, sherry and/or fig balsamic vinegar
Relaxed, tobacco leaf and cigars, leather couches, rich fruits, raisin, fig, date, some blackcurrant and cherry, classic salt and smoke, refined cane sugar, treacle and molasses, spiced ginger, cinnamon, clove – a much richer and spicier gingerbread than the bourbon cask and hints of cumin and cigar boxes, touches of dark chocolate but with a cherry kirsch liqueur centre
Long, very drying and nicely tannic, fruity and sooty smoke
Another beautiful single cask example from Ardbeg, full of fruity, tannic and leather qualities from a long ex-sherry butt maturation. This expression really highlighted just how superior the preceeding 1974 Bourbon cask matured expression was. Although in essence this Ardbeg would normally fit my flavour profile, I found it perhaps overly dark fruity with little chocolate or nut influences (so I suspected ex-Oloroso) cask and almost a little too much ageing, even so this scored extremely highly as it really was a supreme whisky. If I had the choice (and money!) I think I would have bought 2 of the 1974 cask bottles instead though!