So on June 1st, it’s once again Ardbeg Day known as “Ardbog Day” this year, when the world prepares itself for some shooglin and dramming (that’s dancing and drinking) with “Embassies” across the world springing up to host the Ardbog Day release. Last years offering was reviewed by me here, this year it’s called Ardbog and I’ve already dug it.
Ardbog Day is best experienced at the distillery itself where they really throw quite a party (as well as some peat). There are numerous additional tastings and tours to join but for the more active among you, why not try one of the many other shenanigans on offer- such as The Peat and Spade Race, The Ardbeg Wheelbarrow Race, The Peat Sack Race, Boggy Welly Tossing, Dribbling Ardbog style, Bog of WarNot to name just a few. If Islay is just a bit too far from home, check out where your nearest Embassy is and join them for a dram or two. If you are in London, then sign up for the Ardbog Day March and get your hands dirty with whatever they have planned. I’ve heard sheep walking over a Thames bridge, but my source is unreliable at best.
Anyway, enough about the party, what about the whisky?
Ardbog is a 10 year old single malt which is a combination of spirit matured in both Ex-Bourbon American oak and Ex-Manzanilla Sherry butt.
Dr Bill Lumsden, Director of Distillation and Whisky Creation said about Ardbog “At its heart our hallmark smoky yet fruity and floral spirit has been matured in Spanish ex-Manzanilla sherry casks for ten years, which has then been wrapped with traditional Ardbeg of the same age that is matured in American ex-bourbon oak casks. The Manzanilla maturation weaves salty flavours through the whisky which is then balanced with the maple syrup creaminess of the first-fill ex-bourbon casks.”
Ardbeg Ardbog Single Malt Whisky
10 year old
Release date: 1 June 2013
Appearance: Rose gold with polished bronze
Nose: An inviting nose, rich and complex with both soft floral and deep earthy notes. Honeycomb with dark chocolate deepens to liquorice root dipped in caramel. Freshly dug peat combines with gentle smoke and a hint of carbolic soap creating an earthy tone with a savory edge like pata negra ham. To the end, and with a splash of water, its cider apples rolled in ash.
Palate: Creamy and full, the rich palate delivers much of the notes from the nose, swirling and drifting between sweet flowers into earthy herbaceous tones. Mid palate is hit with a salty, brine like twist wrapped in gentle peat smoke and prickly spice. Cinder toffee, clove, salted almonds and a side of grilled artichoke in peppered olive oil. Quite a mouthful!
Finish: An oily finish, lingering peat smoke and a constant sweet/savory battle in the mouth
Summary: I was quite taken aback by this one, softer than expected and a fabulous mixture of twisting sensations. Nothing really takes over, everything seems to harmonize so well. This is nothing like the standard 10 year old Ardbeg, it’s much more refined, rounded and complex.