This 1992 Ardbeg, matured for 12 years in a sherry cask, seems to be one of the best discovery of Collecting Whisky, and should confirm the top level of Silver Seal bottlings.
N: huge sherry influence: there's a little peat, but very gentle and in the background, without any smokiness involved. The sherry cask shows orange, raisins; there's a little meatiness too (as in some peculiar Springbanks and Longrows), but very enjoyable and definitely not aggressive. Some notes of cooked prunes and nutmeg. Very good, very complex, in constant evolution.
P: ok, here comes Ardbeg, with its typical strong peat - strong it is, but not overshadowing all the other flavors (red fruits, mainly raspberry). The sweetness evolves towards a lovely woodiness, slightly smokey. Really gentle: in the end you also have the classic amazing saltiness of Port Ellen malts. Quite dry. Wonderful and very drinkable, you never feel that water's needed.
F: habemus finish. Medium lenght. We're mostly on sweet, dry wood: far is the brutality of some Ardbegs, this is a very gentle finish... And in the end, your lips are salty.
It's not easy to predict how a sherry cask will behave with an Islay malt: sometimes you can face a hostile product, sometimes you can face jewels of balance and complexity. This goes definitely in the second category: a wonderful young sherried Arbed, gentle, sweet, well balanced. Highly recommended: it seems that there are five or six bottles left...