Nose: Sweet and smoky, slightly acidic at the same time. Gooseberries, sourdough, lemon cake, lots of tar and peat smoke resonate with it. In addition, a light vanilla and a lot of sea water, some flotsam and also rusty metal. Also pear candies, but the sweetness only lingers briefly, the smoke and the tart citrus fruits keep pushing forward. After a while I find resin, mustard seeds and children's liquorice, the vanilla becomes stronger.
Palate: Hugely sweet at first, then the smoke comes in like a wave and becomes quite engaging. Lemon glaze and limoncello, some soft apricot and honeydew melon. Now the smoke takes over, some seaweed and iodine, has a slightly medicinal effect, plus stale salt water. Mustard in the background again and a hint of mint chocolate.
Finish: Medium to long, the sweetness disappears from the palate and the smoke lasts longer. The mint chocolate accompanies a little.
Conclusion: Honest 5 years of maturation and from my point of view an increase to An Oa. I can't quite understand the name of the Ardbeg because I'm still looking for the little beast, but maybe the emphasis should be on "small"? This bottling definitely doesn't have to hide, here we have a pleasant and complex Ardbeg with a great price/performance ratio. This whisky definitely puts some of the annual limited releases in the shade. 87/100 points (2022).