Whisky Review: Ardbeg Kelpie Limited Edition

Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Ardbeg Distillery

Bottling: Luis Vuitton Moet Hennessy

ABV: 46%

Cost: £95.95 buy from Master of Malt

ardbeg-kelpie-whisky

What they say:

Ardbeg Kelpie Limited Edition

Ardbeg Kelpie is named for the legends of the sea around Ardbeg.

Its powerful aromas of oily peat, salty seaweed and tarry rope have been produced by virgin oak casks from the Black Sea, intermingled with the hallmark Ardbeg flavour profile. Waves of spicy black pepper give way to a delectable tide of bacon and dark chocolate. Incredibly deep.

Non chill-filtered at 46% ABV

Colour:

Burnished Gold

Nose:

A wonderful, intense, ‘dancing’ nose, with lots of different, intertwined aromas – powerful, oily peat, dark chocolate, smoked fish, hints of seaweed, and a curious, sharp herbal note.  Waves of spicy, black pepper.

A splash of water brings forth some classic Ardbeg notes, such as creamy coffee, smoked fudge and pine resin. Even some hints of smoked coconut.

Taste:

A peppery mouthfeel is followed by a crescendo of rich flavours.  Treacle toffee, Turkish coffee, smoky bacon and lots of dark, dark chocolate.  A curious burst of peachy, estery fruit, hickory wood, clove oil and a suggestion of black olives on the aftertaste.

Finish:

Seemingly lasting forever, with deep, deep, almost subterranean flavours of clove, tar and rich toffee.

The-Kelpies

What I say:

The standard ‘Limited’ Release of Ardbeg’s 2017 Ardbeg Day release termed Kelpie after the mythological sea creatures associated with Ardbeg’s coastal location. I have to say I am much more familiar with Falkirk’s Kelpie’s – being 20 metres high and made out of 928 stainless steel plates weighing in at a total of 300 tonnes! Modelled on Clydesdale horses that would have pulled the canal boats across Scotland and also linked to the mythology of white horses or horses heads being the water-spirit to which they owe their name. We have visited them regularly since their construction and thought of them as we consumed this Ardbeg whisky part-matured in virgin Black Sea oak casks as well as standard American oak ex-Bourbon casks before being masterfully married together to produce this Kelpie expression by Dr. Bill Lumsden.

Appearance:

Pale straw gold (2/20), medium-sized oily tears leave medium-fine legs

Nose:

Sweet peat and vanilla, slightly ashen and smoky, quite a dry nose with grassy hay, hints of fresh sweetened lemon and lime, bitumen or molten road tar on a hot summer’s day (the sort that bubbles and you could poke a stick in to pop for hours of fun as a child) dark chocolate and some mixed herbs and spices

Taste:

Chocolate coated toffee, treacle toffee, dark chocolate, nutty walnut, coffee grinds, camp coffee, chicory leaf, teak oil, clove, aniseed balls, this is quite full-bodied with some bright peachy fruit and some briny sea spray also.

Finish:

Long, treacle toffee, bitumen, black pepper and dark chocolate

Overall:

A whisky of great depth with a lovely bitterness of cocoa and coffee combined with classic Ardbeg oily peatiness & marine influences of its namesake. If I can raise any criticism it is only that the nose promises more than the palate maybe deliver in this expression

Score: 87/100

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