The Duchess is the independent bottle trademark brand for single cask bottles that are released for bestofwhiskies.com, a Dutch online whisky and spirits retailer. Within the Dutchess range, The Shieldmaiden series is the first to have been bottled. I know others are on the way, and jusging by the quality of this one- i recommend you keep an eye on this new and interesting range of bottlings.
This first release is a 25 years old Ardbeg named Malin. The Scandinavian name means ‘small warrior’. A single cask older Ardbeg, from 1991? sounds intriguing right?
Nose: lovely farmy notes up front , with earthy peat , ash and hessian , there’s also a sweeter vanilla custard and maybe a hint of banana bread as well .creamy and medicinal at the same time which is great, and the peat is just crisp yet gentle, as you can expect older Ardbeg to be. A bit of citrus mostly lemon peel, white pepper and a salty touch too. We’re off to a lovely start with this one…
Palate: quite powerful with a lovely deep smoky touch, oily and sweet at times yet salty. Smoked Kippers,nuts, tarry rope, and more of the medicinal touches , grapefruit pith,and a nice peppery edge that does go well with the creamy notes. Nice wood and earthy notes too towards the end.
Finish: earthy and smoky, long with the kippers and tar, and the vanilla creaminess mixing nicely. Very elegant.
Well well, this is quite an excellent whisky, really everything I had hoped from an older Ardbeg, very elegant, and not too punchy, but still packs enough peaty prowess. Highly recommended. The only downside is Pricing. at almost 800 EUR, this is not cheap…
Available for €795 at Best of Wines