...and indeed this is excellent stuff. Many good reviews are published on the dram already so I can skip the aromas and flavours description and rather focus on the overall tasting enjoyment instead - and that is flabbergasting! Great stuff from the past and certainly worth heavy bucks, how many depends solely on the deepness of your pockets. A perfect pick for Christmas night!
The colour is deep copper and the nose offers exactly this adorable mix of peaty, malty, sherried and wooden aromas old Ardbeg are so famous for. Dozens of different impressions float my olfactory cells with none of them trying to be dominant - and most aromas rather belong to the old whisky styles (not wood/cask-driven but spirit/peat-induced). A nose that can be explored for hours and it is a great pleasure to do so. After significant time of breathing (more than 30 minutes) the interesting peaty-medicinal notes grow stronger while the sherry aromas retreat somewhat - but the balance is kept all the time.
The taste is multi-multi layered with an unbelievably rich profile of different flavours and all in perfect harmony. Again, this is not cask-driven like most of the modern drams but the cask did an excellent job in enriching and supporting the maturation of the spirit. This is a must-chewer and I suggest to keep it in the mouth as long as you can resist the reflex to swallow it. It offers new impressions all the time and none of them are disappointing, actually I enjoy every single one very much.
The initial mouthfeel is very satisfying with a warming and creamy texture coating all of the mouth very quickly. No distracting bitter or drying moments neither in the arrival nor during the finish. That is very long and it vanishes in slowly fading waves which focus on different aspects of the taste again. A dram which can be savoured for hours because I need another small sip only for a new kick of long lasting impressions. Great stuff to quaff! Water smooths the dram but like so often the different layers intermingle now so I suggest to explore this dram neat first before experimenting with any reduction. Personally I prefer the neat dram, but it swims very well, too.