Nose: Very sulphury attack, but in a very nice way, with also lots of rubber (bicycle inner tube) and some strong notes of dried oranges. A very compact mix of sherry and peat, it appears. It then gets also very farmy, on wet hay, wet dog and horse stable, and keeps developing on some bold notes of bitter almonds, orgeat syrup and mastic. The smoke is superb as well. Very compact indeed, but not narrow in any way – a beauty as expected.
Palate: Bold, punchy and creamy at first sip, very convincing. Some big notes of burnt herbs, smoked oysters and dried fruits (lots: bitter oranges, pears, bananas, quince, figs…) Some fresh tropical fruits as well, and again these big rubbery notes, with also quite some pepper. It really invades your mouth!
The finish is very long ‘of course’, very bitter (a ‘good’ bitterness) and always very rubbery… A stunning bottling, for sure, that rejoins the best Ardbegs in the pantheon of the greatest sherried peat ‘monsters’... it’s not cheap – to say the least - but alas, the best Ardbegs are quick to fetch the same kinds of prices at auctions anyways! A 95 points malt in my books.