Monday, 22 September 2008
The problem with having a whisky fetish is that many bottles are opened, sampled, loved, drunk, loved, drunk, loved... rested. After dusting down several bottles from our cabinet that need to be finished off, we chose to put to bed the Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist. This whisky is one of the core Ardbeg range currently on offer. However, as with any whisky of a stated vintage stocks will be limited and this fantastic bottling must come to an end at some stage (who knows when...). There have now been three different releases of the Beist, notable by the "Bottled In The Year xxxx" in gold print on the reverse label. So far we have seen 2006 (a 16 YO Whisky, given that is from 1990 stock), a 2007 (17 YO) and a 2008 (apparently the smallest batch, and an 18 YO to boot). The glass that caskstrength.net has in its hands holds the first batch, the 2006 release. If you are lucky enough to have or find a bottle of the '06 stock, it might be worth a place under your mattress...
Ardbeg - Airigh Nam Beist - 46% Vol - 2006 Release - 70cl
Nose: A huge nose of vanilla fudge, dry oak, over ripe plums, pipe tobacco (a fine Balkan blend). Aniseed. This is all the aspects of a whisky nose you would expect to find wafting from a lovely old tweed suit. This may sound wanky, but the overall aroma is that of the Old Kiln Shop at Ardbeg. This is the signature smell of the distillery.
Palate: Fresh green apples, bitter dark chocolate, more fudge, dried vine fruit and drying peat leading into almost fresh strawberries, cream with a hint of medicinal loveliness on the death. (It really does remind me of the wonderful warm day at the end of may sat with our feet dangling off the pier at Ardbeg, greedily pouring generous drams of this)
Finish: Acres of peat, more green leaves and cocoa on the death. Sadly for this bottle, it really is the death. RIP, old friend!!
Overall: It's easy to eulogise about our obvious love for this bottling, but this last dram really does highlight its brilliance. We managed to savour our smaller-than-usual measures for nearly an hour before cracking and allowing the last few drops to slowly slip away. Sensational stuff. Now... what can we put in its place in the cabinet? .... another 'Nam Beist we suspect...!