Age isn't everything. This one doesn't compare with casks of its own vintage. Yes, I've heard the story of how Ardbeg reacquired said casks, but I think they were left unbottled for a reason. They are nice but not great.
The old Ardbegs distilled and put in casks before the French buyout were simply better, but these casks are not among the best examples of their contemporaries.
This said, during the crossover period some of the Old Guard remained. That's why Ardbegs were so good up until Ardbeg Day. After that . . . c'est la vie.
The old ways were the better ways of making whisky. All of the computerized stills and fancy marketing in the world can't hold a candle to the old ways. I once saw Dr. Bill speak in person. He kind of made fun of the condition that Ardbeg's distillery was in when he took over managing operations.
Bill said the light switches were held together with shoe laces. So be it. Shoe laces beat computers, hands down, when it comes to making GREAT EFFING SCOTCH. Sorry, Doc. The truth hurts.
Twenty Something has a clever title, but this 'ere bottle beside me does not earn the Owl Seal of Approval.
There is a point where human taste buds and olfactory nerves go downhill. I am 53 years old. My senses are still pretty good, insofar as such things go. I was drinking great scotch back in 1987, and from thence onward.
"Speak memory, for thy servant hears."
I am one of the few who can taste today's scotch and mentally compare it with the scotch of the 80's and 90's, much of which was distilled in the 60's and 70's.
A lot has changed since the 1966, the year that I was born. Yes, this was year that some of the best Springbanks were distilled. I've tasted a few of them, but I wish I had bought a bottle of the Local Barley. It's out of my price range now. I was changing careers when the '66 vintages were being sold. Couldn't afford to buy any, and now they are out of sight in terms of cost.
I'm one of those few people who remember moments in time with crystaline perfection. I can remember rocking in my crib before one year of age. I can remember my parents sunken living room at 1.5 years of age. I can remember bobbing down the hallway and having my father jump out and scare me at 1.5 years of age. I can remember many memories from that point onward.
And I remember good scotch that I tasted in my 20's and 30's very clearly because I loved it so very much. This bottle does not compare, but it's not bad. It's quite tasty. Do I regret spending my money on it? No, I got a pretty good deal on mine.
This said, I wish I could have gone back in a time machine with the same funds and purchased a few of the 1970's Ardbegs released in the early 2000's. Ah, if only . . .
$400 in 2003 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $545.88.
$400 in 1973 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $2,262.22.