...and it is of a comparable complexity and quaffability like my beloved 1972-1975 vintages with just a little less power and an oxydation-problem. So enjoy it right away after serving and do not add any bloody water. By the way, after more than ten minutes of breathing I would reduce my score by three points because both the nose and taste flatten due to oxydation, unfortunately.
The colour is yellow gold and the nose offers the complex old Ardbeg profile with still heavy phenols and strong tarry-medicinal aromas. No, it is not as powerful in this respect as the great 1972-1975 vintages. And yes, it is fun to explore and a great joy to sniff with dozens of different aromas in a harmonious Islay profile setting. But it looses some steam upon breathing so take your first sniffs right after serving. Actually, after some minutes the profile vanishes to a large extend which reduces my initial score by as much as four points from a 91 to an 87 score.
The taste is nicely layered on sweet barley sugars fighting with bitter peaty and spicy wooden flavours. All the trademark Ardbeg flavours are there but again they are not as powerful as with the older vintages. The complexity is about the same and all is pretty balanced without any off-note, great stuff to quaff. Water releases more peaty and chalky-mineral aromas in the nose but it flattens the taste, unfortunately. I prefer the neat dram, no doubt.
The initial mouthfeel is warming and instantly coats the whole of my mouth with a creamy texture - yes, this is the great old-style oiliness Ardbeg always was famous for. Accordingly, the finish is long and adds more spices (peppers) and some chocolatey flavours which are delicious. Towards the end the enourmous maltiness pops up again and the dram chews like freshly malted (heavily peated) barley - I like that!