It’s alright, but falls short of being great. I like the savoury and coastal notes, and the mouthfeel was better than I expected, but with the strong tartness, short finish, and that chalky note, it’s maybe a bit rough. The rich, earthy, meaty notes that I love in Ardbeg seemed just a bit anemic. I did pour a glass of the 10 to compare with this, and I could really tell how much richer and fuller the 10 was. Wee Beastie just doesn’t have quite the same depth. It’s hard to live up to the other excellent standard releases in the Ardbeg range, let along other young heavily peated whiskies from Kilkerran, Kilchoman, Bunnahabhain, and Bruichladdich. I personally will stick to buying the 10 to fill this niche in my cabinet.
Nose: Bright and clear, familiarly Ardbeg. Tide pools, seaweed, bonito flake, and earthy peat. Tart notes of lemon juice and rice vinegar. Roasted peanuts. A fair bit of chalk and rock quarry dust. Something like pen ink.
Palate: Medium texture, lightly oily. Bright and lemony up front, with a bit of stonefruit and some Granny Smiths. Smoky seared beef, mushrooms, soot, black pepper, and clayey earth on the development. Some fragrant bay leaf and dried thyme.
Finish: Short and tart. Smoldering moss, lemon-lime, cilantro, bloomed dark chocolate, and tonkotsu broth. Just a little bit of tomato paste. Lingering mild sooty smoke.