SMWS 33.132 Beauty and the Beast

Ardbeg 8 Years Old 2007 33.132 Beauty and the Beast (60.9%, SMWS, Refill Amontillado Butt, 624 Bottles, 2015)

  • Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky
  • Origin: Ardbeg Distillery
  • Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Cask#33.132
  • ABV: 60.9%
  • Cost:£120


What they say:

A variety, as well as degrees in intensity, of smoke; smoky bacon, honey glazed chicken breasts barbequed over hickory wood chips, stone hearth with a whole pig on a spit turning, pan-fried pancetta, smoked salted caramels and a Bavarian smoked beer. The taste was like entering the smoke engulfed living room of a blackhouse on the Outer Hebrides cooking a not very regional dish of chipotle, beef and bean chilli. With a drop of water aromas of creosote soap, Tiger Balm red ointment, wood glue and slightly singed wellie boots appeared and the taste was ‘gamey’ venison and pheasant stew in red wine.

Distilled 24th May 2007,  matured for 8 years in 2nd Refill Amontillado sherry butt and produced 624 bottles at outturn at cask strength of 60.9% ABV.


What I say:

Thanks to Helen at SMWS for the official sample which arrived as a surprise Christmas gift. Their latest young Ardbeg (SMWS Distillery code #33) matured in an ex-sherry cask.


Dark caramel gold (14/20), thick oily legs


Red fruits, sherry bite – slightly acidic/vinegar, strawberry balsamic vinegar, raspberry, peat smoke, charcoal, cherry, kirsch, blackcurrant syrup


Rich ruby fruits, plum, cherry, raspberry, strawberry, blackcurrant, tannic oak wood, smoked oily fish (mackeral), tobacco leaf/cigars, cigar boxes, bbq meats, plum and cherry jam/sauce/chutney, slightly savoury like hoi sin sauce


Long, smoked meats and sweet like honey-roast gammon, smoked peppered mackeral, steak and cherry, duck and plum, etc.


Wow! What a wonderful expression this has really taken on some cask influence in its short 8 year maturation. This adds a wonderful fruity sweetness to that smoked meat quality from the Ardbeg spirit. Like a single cask version of the Uigeadail expression (see our reviews of the 2012 and 2014 bottled expressions here). A little rough around the edges but this just feels like cigar smoke in the mouth.

Score: 90/100

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Categories: Ardbeg, Islay

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