The strength of the alcohol is also apparent at 46% abv and creeps up the nose. Straw notes and cracked black pepper bringing with it some nice warmth. Hints of tobacco pouch and camphor.
Palate: Wow! Unbelieveably soft on the palate and unlike any Ardbeg I’ve ever tried (even the Uigeadail)! Soft peat, sweet barley and the barley sugar from the nose definitely make an appearance with just a hint of citrus.
The briny, maritime character is also apparent, with a nice sprinkling of sea salt. The cracked black pepper from the nose combines beautifully with the barley sugar, giving it a nice warming sweetness. The sweetness becomes more pronounced with time and the mouthfeel is slightly oily with a drying character as the heat begins to fade.
Finish: Long and lingering finish, which would probably last all night long. Sea salt, cigar ash and some peat towards the very end. Very more-ish whisky and I could definitely drink this on a regular basis!
The old bottling is a testament to a distilling style from a different era and is representative of the quality of old whiskies. This old Ardbeg is a definite winner in my eyes and just about pips the current expression in terms of the overall sensory experience.