Ardbeg 1999/2019 (58.7%, Or Sileis, barrel, cask #134, 188 bottles) Five stars
A bottling by Ian Macleod/Chieftain’s for Taiwan. I’m glad they didn’t reduce it to 46%. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s showing self-restraint and would rather talk branches and fresh nuts before a perfectly well-carved smokiness arises, very narrow, almost philosophical (frugality and stuff) and extremely ashy. It’s really plain peat smoke, as if we were in a working kiln, although a few berries would show off as well. Cranberries? With water: it’s the Ten, more or less, with just a little more profoundness. No complains, love the Ten. Mouth (neat): these sour fruits and this tar that scream Ardbeg. As if they had tried to smoke guavas. In the background, the usual tarry ropes and touches of tangerines. Smoked, naturally. It’s not complex, but that’s almost what you were expecting, something simple and perfect. With water: and bicycle inner tubes, lemons, samphires, and seaweed. Well, we’ve got a full team. Finish: medium, with the only descriptor that was missing, smoked fish. Very ashy aftertaste, with a little salt as well, and something medicinal (tincture of iodine). This time, we’ve really got a full team. Comments: Ardbeg remains perfect as long as it’s kept in its own juices. Like all the great spirits, I think it mixes badly.
SGP:357 - 90 points.