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Ardbeg Distillery is situated on the stunning isle of Islay and is legendary for their heavily peated and well loved malts.

They have been crafting scotch for around 200 years now and have certainly learnt a thing or two in that time.

Despite their long history, they are a thoroughly modern brand and recently even sent samples into space to observe the effects of the atmosphere on the ageing process.

This is only one of the many ways that Ardbeg experiment with their malt and they are renowned for creating revolutionary drams.

Ardbeg Kelpie is one such malt and has been released to celebrate Ardbeg Day 2017, on June 3rd.

Kelpie honours the legend of shape shifting water spirits that are infamous in Scottish folklore, and it also commemorates some excellent malts.

This dram has been matured in first fill virgin oak casks from the Black Sea and then married in ex-Bourbon casks.

It is packed with seaside flavours that are typical of Ardbeg and there is of course a delightful waft of peat smoke throughout.

The nose opens with the ocean; full of salt, brine and iodine. It is thick and pungent, with an undertone of seaweed and thyme.

The herbs give it a lovely softness and a nice earthy tone. This goes perfectly with the peat smoke that comes in.

The peat is warming and spicy, with lovely hints of pepper that go well with the earthy notes.

There is also a delicate sweetness to this dram, with soft vanilla notes and some toasted oak coming out.

On the palette really brings out this sweetness, with thick treacle and honey notes. These give the mouth feel a wonderful creaminess that makes it smooth and easy going.

There is a bitter side to the palette as well, with some complex and rich coffee and dark chocolate flavours. The smoke is ideal with these flavours and really bolsters them

The herbal tones of the nose come through again, with some more thyme and a little basil and rosemary coming in.

The oak from the nose also makes an appearance, with more warmth and peppery spice to it.

This carries into the finish, which is long and lingers on deep peat smoke flavours. Brine and tar come out here as well, with lots of depth and refinement to them.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable dram and is perfect for those of us who love Ardbeg, and those looking for something with lots of punch in the flavour.

 

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