Regular readers will know I’m a huge Ardbeg fan so when they release any new product I do my best to be at the front of the queue to buy the bottle or a couple if I’m lucky so when Ardbeg Distillery Release was launched it was a no brainer to ensure I got it.
Luckily for me a great friend of mine JP of Electric Spirit picked it up for me from the distillery itself whilst at a wedding there around the time of launch.
The ‘general’ release, curiously bottled a couple of % ABV lower than the one I’m reviewing here, will go public in the UK June 13th, just after the annual Ardbeg Day celebrations on Islay but this one is special. This is the Ardbeg Perpetuum Distillery Release that is, as you might expect, only available at the distillery.
Bottled at 49.2% and in line with most of the Ardbeg range not carrying an age statement (and what of it?!), this release is a celebration of all things Ardbeg and extra special as it marks the 200th anniversary of the distillery itself.
Its full name is The Ardbeg Perpetuum Distillery Release Bicentenary Committee Release but that’s a bit of a mouthful. Let’s just call it Ardbeg Perpetuum Distillery Release.
Ardbeg Perpetuum Distillery Release is inspired by the many styles, ideas and quirks of fate which have influenced Ardbeg over time; it combines different styles, flavours, dreams and trials.
Ardbeg professes that whisky drinkers are supposed to taste a ‘never-ending, rich and enticing combination of classic Ardbeggian notes and incredibly creamy flavours’.
Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation, said:
“Ardbeg’s character has endured for 200 years and we hope it will continue for centuries to come. The 2015 Ardbeg Day anniversary bottling, Ardbeg Perpetuum, celebrates this milestone year with a recipe that includes some very old and young Ardbeg, silky Ardbeg from bourbon barrels and some spicy Ardbeg from sherry casks. The resulting expression combines classic notes of dark chocolate and treacle with sea-spray, peat smoke, vanilla and a hint of sherry casks, to create an unforgettable single malt with an aftertaste that is never-ending.”
I took my sweet time in reviewing this release as I knew it was going to be special so wanted to give it the time it deserved… maybe I got a bit carried away by using an official Ardbeg nosing glass and lighting Ardbeg peat cones but the ritualistic tasting was in line with the cult status of the whisky itself.
The nose was sweet, oodles of vanilla and dark chocolate. Peaty as you’d expect but a more rounder, delicate smokiness to it than other pungent noses from their main range, warming with just a hint of spice.
On the palate you get lots more chocolate, lots of pepper and chilli and overall quite dry. Lovely. Subtle fresh barley notes are present and welcome.
The finish is as calm as you like, warming, chilled out, enjoyable with dark chocolate, a citrus note that lasts a reasonable amount of time.
A really nice release that is totally deserving of the hype!
Also published on Medium.