Colour: deep ochre
Aroma: deep, enticing waves of pecan nuts, salty toffee and caramels, with a distinct whiff of herbs, lavender and violets. Soft, aromatic smoke is interwoven with salty savoury notes. Water brings forth herbal notes, smoked rhubarb and aged balsamic vinegar.
Taste: a full oily/tingly mouthfeel leads into a powerful, savoury burst of flavours – salted cashews and peanuts, clove, aniseed toffee, green olives and a curious hint of anchovy. A lingering aftertaste in which classic Ardbeg sweetness is kept in check by oak tannins, clove and coffee grounds.
Nose: Underlying candy sweetness with a bit of tar, tyre-fire smoke and preserved lemons (Moroccan style, in salt). Lots of brine and hints of plimsoll rubber and new bandages.
Palate: More brine up front, along with sweet apple and lemon, bitter pith, coal smoke and dust, and a rich earthiness underneath. Quite dry after the initial sweetness, with sour woody notes creeping in around the edges.
Finish: Long, with apple skin, lemon peel, salted caramel, dry oak and a touch of black pepper.
Comment: On my first taste I wasn’t particularly impressed, with my comment being a not particularly disparaging ‘tastes like Ardbeg’. However, after a weekend of the bottle being opened it’s definitely opened up a bit – an interesting balance of salt and smoke, although maybe a little bit dry for some.
Nose: Sweet honey, old wet mossy oak, some hints of chocolate shavings, then developing raisin syrup and some notes of bandages / elastoplast and balsamic vinegar. Indeterminate red berry fruit, Cadbury’s fruit and nut bar. With time in the glass some lemon and fruit cake notes.
Palate: Sweet and sooty, with a developing strong salted nuttiness, particularly Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and almonds. Also quite citrussy with tart lemon juice flavours, plus burnt wet wood and some strong medicine cabinet / iodiney notes.
Finish: Salt and honey / caramel with the lemon notes becoming more boiled-sweet like.
Comment: Less of the famous tarry rope and more salt than normal Ardbeg. A whisky made for hipflasks.