Ardbeg Day comes around but once a year, and with it, the distillery’s annual Ardbeg Day bottling.
This year they’re celebrating the swinging 60s and the Summer of Love with Ardbeg Grooves.
Found on the Isle of Islay, Ardbeg Distillery is renowned for creating heavily peated malts.
They have been in production for over 200 years, and celebrate every year with Ardbeg Day, when they release an exclusive bottling and open their distillery during Islay’s annual Feis Ile celebrations.
This year, Ardbeg Day falls on June 2nd, an the distillery have released Ardbeg Grooves.
This year’s offering is a malt that has been matured in re-toasted red wine casks and will be released with two ABVs. The first is bottled at 46% and went on sale to the general public, while the second, bottled at 51.6%, went on sale exclusively to members of the Ardbeg Committee.
Released on March 14th, this malt commemorates Ardbeg as it used to be. Micky Heads, distillery manager at Ardbeg says, “The Ardbeg Village of the 1960s was a very different place – a groovy wee community, with its own post office, billiards hall, two choirs and even a football team.”
It is called Ardbeg Grooves not only for the 60s, but also for the deep charcoal grooves that appear in the casks once they have been re-toasted.
The nose is packed with peat smoke and oak that is full of sweet caramel and vanilla.
There is an underlying tone of sea salt and brine, combined with a lovely red wine flavour in the background.
It has a lot of raisins and orchard fruits, including apples, oranges and peaches as well.
On the palate the flavours mix well. The vanilla is sweet and wood, with the oak really coming through. It also has a delicate hint of cinnamon spice.
The peat brings in an earthy quality, with dew covered grass and heather appearing. It is warming and homely.
Seaside notes come in as well, with more brine and a bit of seaweed. These go really well with the oak wood and the more natural flavours.
The finish is packed with peat smoke, leaving a long linger and a little hint of burnt caramel.
Definitely a dram to seek out, wherever you can find it, Ardbeg Grooves is another excellent homage to the distillery’s birth place.