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Monday, 23 February 2009

this one 'beg'gars belief!

Today, I was going through a few old note books, which had gone missing in action, presumed dead, only to re-appear under a big pile of papers in my spare room.  To my amazement, I found a series of tasting notes which we really should have posted a while back (more of these to come soon)  
As I flicked through this little treasure trove, my knees suddenly went weak and my pulse raced far above its normally dull thump, thump, thump... I had unearthed one of the most memorable tastings in our short, but perfectly flavoured history of Caskstrength.  Reading through the furiously scribbled notes, I was transported straight back to a particular bottle which totally knocked my socks off!!  

Anyway, no more waffling... to those who know this bottling, it needs no introduction:

Ardbeg - distilled 1972 - single cask, no. 2782 - bottled in 2003 by Velier for Italian market - 49.9% vol - 246 bottles

Nose: Swimming pool mustiness, rich white chocolate, tangerine zest, marzipan, hints of Earl Grey tea and cream soda.  Unbelievably balanced and expressive.  It's the sort of nose you can lose an hour in, without hesitation.  

Palate: Old and totally proud of its heritage.  Sweet creamy fudge, a succulent mouth feel with the kind of gentle peat smoke that swirls across the tongue, never overpowering it.  Further in, hints of some fragrant vanilla and condensed milk grab your attention and just never let go.  This run of Bourbon casks (consecutive sister casks from 1972 were released in France and Denmark too) must have been right at their sweet spot. Stunning stuff. 

Finish:  More waves of that lightly peated goodness, which just never gets tired.  No over-dryness or oak- just classic, brilliant, old Ardbeg. 

Overall:  Another lesson from the distillery in whisky perfection.  If we could travel forward in time 30 years or so, i'd love to do a lateral tasting with this, against a single cask of today's Ardbeg. I'll be 64 then.  Hope my pension stretches that far for a couple of bottles!!