If you’ve been reading the blog, you’ve probably read about this new release in last week’s whisky news (here). If not, all you really need to know is that this is a new expression just released by Ardbeg , consisting of a marriage of firm, smoky, but creamy Ardbeg from Bourbon barrels with rather racy, spicy whiskies from new and refill Sherry casks, currently only available at the distillery. I was very lucky to get a sneak preview sample of this from Ardbeg (cheers guys!), since I know you Ardbeg fans are keen on knowing how good it is, and is it worth the 120 quid it’s going to set you back if you buy that at the distillery. So here goes:
Ardbeg Kildalton 2014 edition, 46% abv , NAS , £120.00
Nose: very gentle. Whiffs of sweet peat on top of layers of fruit: apricot and grape. Sweet creamy vanilla and hints of pepper and sea spray. Bits of new leather and tar. One of the lightest Ardbegs I’ve ever had recently. So different than recent releases. Lovely.
Palate: Mouth coating and oily. The initial impact releases quite a bit of phenols , with a true Islay character of tarry ropes, pepper, coal soot and earth, mint too. with a bitter continuation of double espresso , crushed coffee beans and smoke.
Finish: Espresso. Tar. Pepper and mint. Dry and bitter burnt sugar.
Although it’d love to see this getting bottled over 50%, it’s really a beautiful Ardbeg in my view. Not the peaty monsters we’ve been getting recently, but a more gentle (yet peated), creamy sort of Ardbeg. The nose is really brilliant here, some would call it subdued, but it’s all about complexity and finesse. well done Ardbeg. Worthwhile hunting if you’re an Ardbeg fan, although I must admit 120 quid is quiet a lot for a 46 % version of any recent Ardbeg.