This is another whisky that I tasted last weekend at St Johns …
This is a classic heavy Islay malt. It is deep and rounded in the glass, with a range of aromas … chocolate, dried fruit, honey, and touches of oil & leather. More than anything, it reminds me of those chocolate covered dried fruits.
The balance of bourbon and sherry casks is evident immediately upon tasting. It is sweet and chewy but with a definite hint of saltiness. Letting it linger, some smoky and roasted flavors come out with the drink. Finally, it has a good finish – sweet and dry.
At the tasting, this one was a big hit because it packs such a punch of flavor and its alcohol content. At 54.2% abv (cask strength), this is a big, heavy beast!
The Ardbeg distillery has had a rough history, being shut down a couple of times since the 1980s, with the last time being 1996. Today, they are one of the top Islay producers and many of their bottlings are quite sought after … especially those before 1977 (when their malting floor was closed).