Review: Ardbeg Dark Cove Committee Edition

Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Ardbeg Distillery

Bottling: Luis Vuitton Moet Hennessy

ABV: 55%

Cost: £85.99

Ardbeg_Dark Cove_Committee

What they say:

Did you know that Ardbeg was once a notorious hideout for (whisper it) smugglers, who plied their trade within its hidden caves and secret beaches? Dark tales abound of daring deeds and narrow escapes from the island’s excise men in the years before John McDougall founded Ardbeg Distillery. Thus, from that dark past, creating the greatest legend of all.

Inspired by this turbulent and murky past, we’ve decided to plunge Ardbeg Day 2016 into darkness and celebrate Ardbeg NIGHT. On 28th May 2016, Committee Members the world over will meet in the shadows, hear dark stories of smuggling on Islay and relish the opportunity to procure – entirely legitimately – bottles of Ardbeg Dark Cove, our Limited Edition Ardbeg Night bottling and the darkest Ardbeg ever.

Keep your wits about you and you may be lucky enough to procure a bottle of Ardbeg Dark Cove Committee Exclusive. Its heart has been matured in dark sherry casks, imparting aromas of treacle toffee, pepper spice and distant bonfires. Ardbeg’s darkest spirit ever.

What I say:

The Ardbeg Committee release of Dark Cove was launched on 15th March 2016, during which those quick off the mark could grab the chance to get hold of a bottle of Ardbeg Dark Cove presented at 55%. Thanks to Ben at BensWhisky.co.uk for sharing a sample.

Colour:

Bright and refractive copper gold (12/20) slightly slower forming medium-sized tears with finer legs

Nose:

Sweet and woody, beech-smoke/black forest ham, charred wood, camphorwood boxes, toffee, chocolate, tobacco, creosote/tar, chewy/meatier than the standard edition, bbq beef, bbq sauce, liquorice, treacle toffee, fruity date and figs, coffee

Taste:

Smooth and sweet milk chocolate with black pepper, chocolate-cpated coffee beans, chilli & ginger with fresh zesty lime juice, treacle, molasses, earthy and ashen peat smoke, malty cereal barley, woody oak, tobacco leaf, slightly fiery in places, malted milk biscuits and caramelised condensed milk

Finish:

Long, spiced heather honey, peat-smoked, a little caustic and abrasive in places

Overall:

Initially this seems a little more refined than the standard version at 46.5% ABV, with a much deeper and darker presentation of flavours. Despite this I found it impossible to choose a favourite between the two editions.

Score: 84/100

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