Nose: typical Ardbegrauch? No, I do not think so. The peat smoke here is rather restrained, and also goes a long way from the heavy Phenoligkeit, which one knows otherwise. Some tar is there, plus a fresh sea breeze and kelp algae, also a few herbal notes can be discovered. Behind this pleasant smoke potpourri comes out a fine sweetness, carried by vanilla, caramel and a little coconut cream, also some yellow fruits can be found (mirabelle plums?). The Oloro bottled water is not very noticeable, a few Nussaromen sneak in, but really only very discreet
Taste: fresh, it starts in the mouth, light sweetness, subtle creamy, without being really oily or thick, a few bright / yellow fruits, then the peat is much more noticeable, a little stronger, as I would have expected the nose, but overall but less intrusive. In addition, of course, comes the oak, which wants to have a say after 23 years. In addition, a few hazelnuts and some ground coffee will show up again
Finish: medium to long, peat smoke, oak, light sweetness, again caramel and also the fresh coffee shows, behind the back it is slightly dry and also a bit mineral
Water: No, for me the dram does not improve with a few drops.
Conclusion: A really great whisky, which absolutely convinced me without brute force. Almost soft, round, well-matured, the aromas harmonize with each other here. The "real" Ardbeg fan may miss the heavy smoker and also the citrus notes so often described. Not at all. I really enjoy it, but it does not seem soft washed. A high on reasonable barrels and a good maturation period. But ... but, but ... that price. I think it's just too expensive. It is and remains a 23-year-old whisky, which is fun, but it's just not worth it - at least not to me. Then rather a 1974 Ardbeg Spirit of Scotland (Whiskyauction Oct. 2017: 414.00 EUR), which gives me back for less money the "old" Ardbegfeeling of the 70s. The whisky itself (without looking at the price tag) gets from me 88/89 points