If there was ever the possibility of subjectively & emotively over-scoring [Ardbeg] whisky at a tasting session, this was surely it – with Mickey Head’s in his [former] back garden on the last day of Feis Ile 2018 in the middle of a heatwave! So to compensate, I kept one eye on myself whilst getting carried away with the other. As I understand it, we start with a double-vintage Ardbeg consisting of bourbon cask-matured juice from 1974 and sherry-matured juice from 1975, both years’ spirit made from Ardbeg’s old floor maltings.
N: Certain OBE [sherry] vibes that translate as the most amazingly concentrated adult-only fruit juice. Other descriptors include [deep breath]: pickled onions & other pickled delights, violets, leather, washed & cleaned sheep wool, soot [distant but there], sweet tobacco, furniture polish,… oaky~quirky notes,….. get the picture? Cracking!
T: Compared to more contemporary peated drams [of which I’ve had a few this week], the peat here is decidedly light and integrated with the rich & gentile sherry oak, coupled with a sweet spicy saltiness. Subjectively, I began thinking of outdoor dusty markets – all sorts from every corner of the globe in fact – before focusing back to a floral aspect and an overall fragility [from the whisky].
F: Long-yet-whispery sweet ashy sooty oaky fruitiness, and for the first time today, oiliness!
C: Fabulous and emotional. Tears are shed.