Malts of Scotland has already bottled quite a few gems and many shops and clubs have noticed this. The Dutch shop Van Zuylen teamed up with them in 2015 to bottle this sherry matured Ardbeg 1998. You do not see Ardbeg on sherry that often and this one even has an ABV of almost 59%. This is going to be good. Dunes An Oir means as much as Golden Dunes, which refers to the location of the shop.
Oh, my, this is a good nose indeed. Oranges, toffee and peat. A strange combination maybe, but put your nose in the glass and a smile is unavoidable. Salty and sweet at the same time with loads of liquorice and pepper. The fruitiness increases if you leave it to breathe for a while. Think oranges, lime, rhubarb, unripe strawberry and pineapple. Fair amount of nuts, both hazel and almonds. Boy, I quite like this. But wait, it’s not over yet. Smoked ham, olive oil, mint and a hint of parsley. Roast beef. Wet tar. Truly, a complex animal.
Great arrival, almost creamy, on all kinds of spices. Think pepper, nutmeg, but also baking spices and salt. The peat offers quite some earthy notes and a lovely smokiness, without losing sight of the sweet fruit. Bitter oranges in the front, strawberry in the middle (truly!) and then lemon and pomelo at the back. From the second sip forward the fruit is completely overpowered by the maritime elements of Ardbeg and some tannins kick in. Some almond oil keeps everything under control. Complex is the word you are looking for.
The finish is wonderfully long and spicy, in which the smokiness fades to the advantage of the peppers and green garden herbs. It dies a salty death.
Oh, my, indeed. What a ridiculously good Ardbeg. Unfortunately nowhere to be found nowadays. Thanks, JP!