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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Road To Islay Day Five: An additional Scoop of Ardbeg

In case the main course of Ardbeg 10yo and Airigh Nam Beist wasn’t enough for you – we can bring you tasty morsel for dessert- in the shape of this year’s Ardbeg Festival bottling!!

The official release is this Saturday for the open day, but we managed to get a sneaky dram earlier today, alongside another brand new Ardbeg with some real bite- but more to come in the next few days on that one.

This year is something completely different for Ardbeg. 2 casks, fully matured in Pedro Ximenez have been vatted together, creating a yield of around 1200 bottles. Let’s grab the bull by the horns and take a big swig…

Ardbeg - Feis Ile 2011 release – distilled 1998 – 13yo – 1200 bottles

Nose: Rich dark damsons, figs, butter notes and some dark treacle, coat the palate and immediately grab hold of you… Then, given time, the smoks develops, slowly at first, but swathes of wood smoke, wrap their way around the tongue. There is a lot of balance here, full marks for marrying 2 powerful forces together.

Palate: Initially dry, with big sherry notes, then touches of the sweet dark fruit again (raisins) and the slowly emerging wood smoke. A deft touch of lemon zest on the back palate

Finish: Dry, lingering notes of sherry and smoke. Wonderful length

Overall: A superb bottling and a real treat to try something different from Ardbeg. Also full marks for the distillery on doing a release that is accessible for many festival goers.

As you can see from this picture of the liquid in the glass, this is seriously thick and seriously flavoursome stuff...