...and this taste is excellent, while the nose is somewhat restrained. Nice stuff to quaff, but in doubt I would rather go for other sherried Ardbeg releases (e.g., the legendary dark and pale oloroso 1967 vintages).
The colour is burnished and the nose is a little reserved first, it seems as if the sherry contains most of the powerful Ardbeg aromas of naked 1972 vintages. This is not really a problem, the dram just takes its time to enfold and I suggest to wait at least 20 minutes (better more). After that an interesting mix of both strong sherry and peat aromas is joined by rather shy fruit and wooden notes. This is pretty nice, no doubt - but to be honest: I prefer both the more powerful naked (meaning unsherried) 70ies Ardbeg and the more complex sherried 60ies Ardbeg bottlings. Sounds decadent? Maybe, but it is as it is...
The taste is more interesting as the powerful malt-induced Ardbeg flavours dare to enter the spotlight right from the beginning. This is an interesting mix of sweet winey, bitter peaty, sweet malty and bitter wooden impressions in a back-and-forth procession along my taste buds. The different layers are not clearly separated but this does not harm the great tasting experience. Yes, this is Ardbeg at its best!
The dram arrives warming and coating on my palate without distracting moments. The finish is long (what else?) and adds more of the dark chocolatey and bitter ashy impressions without getting unbalanced. Again no drying or astringent moments, this dram was bottled at the right time! Water does not really help the nose to improve, instead it gets rather flat and unimpressive. The reduced taste flattens quickly too, so forget about adding water to this dram.