Ardbeg 23 1991 Douglas Laing Director’s Cut

Ardbeg 23 1991 Douglas Laing Director's Cut 1.jpg

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 we have more early 90s Ardbeg, this time one sourced by Doulas Laing as part of their Director’s Cut series.

For those of you who have missed them, I’ve been going through some older Ardbegs from the 1990s to see how they compare to the legendary 70s juice, of which I’ve had a few.

So far it’s not 100% a home run, however there are nice drams that I’ve enjoyed. Today I’ll be reviewing Ardbeg 23 1991 Douglas Laing Director’s Cut.

So now that we have that out of the way, what is “Director’s Cut”, anyway? Is this going to make the original Daredevil movie into something watchable? Or perhaps it’s going to cause Blade Runner fans to have to buy more versions of their favourite movie.

Turns out this is a unique selection of old and rare Single Malt and Single Grain whsikies, bottled at cask strength, and each one from a single cask. No colouring, no chill-filtration. Sadly it’s no longer produced. As of 2013, this lineup has been replaced by Xtra Old Particular, which seems more like a name change and a lineup change more than anything else. Oh, and you get a wooden box with both of them that will gather dust in your house.

So there’s that. Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

Ardbeg 23 1991 Douglas Laing Director's Cut 2.jpg

Price: No longer available

Region: Islay

Distillation Date: March 1991

Bottling Date: April 2014

Cask Number: 10274

Outturn: 114 bottles

Abv: 53.1%

Colour: 5Y 9/8

Nose: Peach pie, yeasty bread, cruller, ash, coconut, leather

Again, stone fruits and well developed butter. Something I’m getting used to with older 90s Ardbegs. As well we have the coconut and freshly made bread, both quite nice and inviting.

However in addition to that, there’s a good amount of leather, ash, and this interesting sugary flavour. So more so than the last ones I’ve had, this has a lovely flavour and complexity. It all comes out with time and water, and it’s well worth the wait.

Taste: Butter, watermelon, mint, peach pie, peat, fresh basil

Like a cold fruit soup. Almost perfectly like a well made one. You know when you hear it’s a watermelon gazpacho soup, perhaps yelled by someone before they die due to an incident in the officer’s mess? Yeah, it’s that.

It’s hard to say anything else. It’s refreshing, fruity, and tasty, with butter through it. I’m frankly confused. It’s like every lunch on a patio ever, and hits that point every sip.

Finish: Caramel, sugar glazed donut, nectarine, lemongrass, coconut cream pie, mango

Long finish. Very long finish. A mixture of that extreme fruit, that wonderful butter, and even more tropical fruit at the end.

Conclusion: I start to hate drams like this, because they are so good, and there’s really no way to explain that beyond putting down a ton of complex notes and hoping that you, the writer believe me, or at least don’t publicly call me a smeghead.

This has an amazing complex nose, a taste that is perfectly balanced, and an insane long, complex mixture of a finish.

It’s not like 70s Ardbeg. And it goes to speak of how amazing 70s Ardbeg is that I have to say that. This is all cask influence and very little of the dram influence. There’s no peat influence here. I enjoy this, and wish it wasn’t so expensive (or discontinued).

Try this if you get a chance, it’s amazing.


Scotch review #852, Islay review #210, Whisky Network review #1371

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