Situated on the astounding south coast of the Isle of Islay, Ardbeg Distillery has both the surroundings and the history to make great whisky.
And that is exactly what they do, and have been doing, since 1815.
The brand refers to itself, rather aptly, as “the ultimate Islay malt”. Throughout its range it captures the smoky, peated characteristics of Islay whiskies as well as the tumbling ocean and rugged coastline on which it is found.
This year sees the distillery celebrate its 200th anniversary. On 30th of March this year the distillery connected with thousands of fans at 135 separate events around the world in order to properly commemorate the distillery and all its achievements.
And with this momentous occasion came the equally momentous release, at this year’s Feis Ile, of Ardbeg Perpetuum. This is the golden liquid that was chosen to herald Ardbeg’s bicentenary year, and a good choice it was too.
This dram is said to capture the past, present and future of Ardbeg in every single drop. It is mellow and well-balanced, with a wonderfully dark and tense sweetness coming from the Sherry casks used in the aging process.
The nose is inviting, calling to be tasted with a deep smoke and charcoal undertone. This is accompanied by thronging notes of sumptuous coffee, dark choaolate and wood.
Notes of thick treacle and syrup join the symphony that is an overture to the melody of the palate.
The palate takes these flavours and gives them real depth and yes, the past, present and future of Ardbeg are all there.
The woody smoke that wafts off a campfire packs the biggest punch in the body of the dram and pays homage to the countless numbers of peated casks that have gone before it. This is joined by sweeter hints of vanilla, also with that tangy oak wooded quality to it.
The mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a slight honey flavour and buttery texture to it. This serves to entice the taste buds further into tasting the richness of the dram.
The intial sweetness of the nose develops into a thicker, more saccharine flavour and brings along a great cinnamon spice. The wood is ever present, with those hints of vanilla becoming more pronounced beside these spicy qualities.
The dark chocolate and coffee provide an interesting bitterness underneath all this and gives the Ardbeg Perpetuum a great depth.
The finish is long lasting and thick with dull peated notes that will have you reaching for another glass. The oak of the Sherry casks is again present and makes for a sweet and spicy end to a wonderfully balanced dram.
The Ardbeg Perpetuum was well worth the 200-year wait. It captures the spirit of Ardbeg and allows Islay lovers to revel in the delicious and pungent smoke of the distillery’s home.
If you’re looking for a recent dram with a lot of history behind it and a wonderfully rich flavour then you cannot go wrong with Ardbeg Perpetuum!