Nose: powerful but not overpowering, not too aromatic, starting farmy on wet hay, notes of pu-erh tea, coffee, grains, grapefruit juice… A little closed in fact, let’s try it with water… It gets much cleaner and peatier indeed, with hints of coal, dill and anise, wet cardboard, matchstick… Quite some lemon again, hints of wet dog, notes of peated malt indeed…. Very, very good but don’t even think about trying it without water.
Mouth (neat): sweet and lemony, liquoricy, also quite green. Quite hot and hard. With water: much more complex, with very nice notes of crystallised oranges and quinces, dried pears, smoked tea, fresh pineapples… Keeps developing on seafood… The finish is very long, still a little spirity even at less than 50%, on apples, pears and tarry, smoky notes…
A very good Ardbeg again but it’s maybe not the total wonder I was expecting – this one has a huge reputation. Or is it me? 91 points, still.