Welcome to the current ongoing series I’m calling “I’m Ar-begging you to stop making these puns”, in which I review all of the Ardbeg samples I’ve had sitting around, unreviewed.
Alright, so I’ve now had Ardbeg from the mid 90s that was in a single cask, and from the mid 90s that was vatted together by the company itself. So far it’s different then the 70s legendary malt, missing some of those big peat elements or well developed chocolate notes.
However a new challenger has entered the ring: Ardbeg 22 1993 Cadenhead’s Single Cask, which I split with some people.
And then made sure I didn’t swap all of it away before sampling it myself. Cause I get excited at sharing. I hear it’s caring.
What we have here is yet another Ardbeg from 1993, right when the distillery popped back up, however this time it was selected by whatever multi-tongued person works for Cadenhead’s. It’s older than the last two, cask strength like the first one, and ex-bourbon like both of them.
What will a few more drops of alcohol (a few, I kid) and more time do? Probably a lot, single casks vary quite a bit. Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: It varies, but it’s a lot
Cask type: Ex-bourbon hogshead
Number of bottles: 228
Colour: 10YR 6/8
Nose: Roasted peaches, Oreos, pulled pork, mint, pine
Interesting roasted and stone fruit notes, which isn’t a huge surprise given the last drams. However this is stronger.
And hey! Finally some chocolate on the nose! Interesting youth notes mixed in with it too, though the chocolate is light. Granted it’s there, so I’m happy about it.
Taste: Treacle, espresso, peach pie, flowers/goat cheese, oily
An immense amount of caramel at first. This rich, strong caramel followed by espresso, almost like I’m some asshole in Italy snapping my fingers at a barista/o and I get my way, even though they should probably shower me in it instead.
Don’t be a dick on vacation, is what I’m saying.
Really nice mouth feel. Interesting floral notes and more of the stone fruit/butteriness that I enjoy too much.
Finish: Chocolate, coffee, oak, basil, fresh bread, radish, old furniture store, Bounty bar
Ah, that chocolate. It starts like, and then this dram throws everything at you. Eventually it hones in on the old wood aspects, giving us a small look into the past 70s malts.
Just a bit.
Conclusion: I’ll give you a bit of a spoiler: This dram may not be the best of this series, however it’s the one that reminds me the most of a 70s Ardbeg. It has the chocolate, it has the complexity, and it has that amazing old wood note.
But what about the dram itself? We have a restrained though complex nose. It’s like when I see a small dog. Sure, I prefer large dogs, but I’m still excited, cause it’s a dog, you know?
Then the taste has this rich, amazing flavour it it. Lots of complexity, more oily. However that’s just setting you up for the end.
And then the end? It’s the peated version of Bruichladdich Black Arts, which how can I complain about that? A kitchen sink approach with amazing flavours? Lots of earth, fresh bread, and coconut/chocolate.
Frankly I’m glad I had this, and if you can’t afford 70s Ardbeg, then this is a close replacement.
Scotch review #851, Islay review #209, Whisky Network review #1370