Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Release 2017
Info: Ardbeg’s Feis Ile 2017 Committee Release, matured in casks made from virgin Black Sea oak and more traditional bourbon casks. 51.7% abv.
Colour: Fairly ripe straw.
Nose: Fairly strong, salty and coastal with oaky peat smoke.
Palate: Thick and oily, spiced charred peat and maple & bacon.
Finish: Spiced and very long, oak, smoke and tar coal hints.
Thoughts: Fun and slightly different, however I’d like a little more sweetness from this, maybe a hint of sherry maturation.
Available: Sold out, likely only available at auction sites.
My own sample as part of a bottle share.
Ardbeg 21 Year Old – 2016 – 46%
Info: Ardbeg 21 Year Old 2016 Committee release.
Colour: Fairly light, straw with some sunlight on it.
Nose: Slight farmyard hints, herbs, slightly peppery herbs, heathery peat, mashed up grapes, hints of coal or charcoal. Gentle oaks and some malt bringing up the rear. After a while and a little air, sweet and subtle tones of summery citrus come through on waves of coastal air.
Palate: The palate is nice and thick with creamy sweet oils, which I maybe wasn’t expecting and is a treat. As you hold it on your tongue after a while gentle puffs of peat smoke start to come forward mingled with a coastal peatiness.
I’m off up to Glasgow tomorrow before heading over to Islay for the Feis on Friday… Therefore now seems the perfect time to review the 2016 Ardbeg Feis Ile release, Dark Cove. Something to do with olden times, pirates, coves, smuggling. Blah blah. Whisky.
There’s two versions, the stronger (55% abv) Committee Edition, and the regular (46.5% abv) version which will be released during the Feis. They did the same last year with the 2015 release, and in that case I preferred the lower strength version, so how will the 2016 versions compare? Let’s see…
Ardbeg Perpetuum (the main release, not the distillery release) – 47.4% abv
Info: Ardbeg’s Feis Ile release for 2015. No-age-statement release made up of “very old and very young” Ardbeg whiskies aged in both Bourbon and Sherry casks.
Colour: Light summer straw. A very natural colour, good to see.
Nose: Peaty, buttery malt. There’s peat and smoke, but the smoke is held back a wee bit. The malt isn’t that new make malt you sometimes get in a young spirit, but the sort of raw malt smell you get when you’re visiting a distillery, it’s great stuff, very evocative, but dissipates with time. There’s enough alcohol to tickle your nose nicely. Behind it all is some of the older malt that’s in the blend which gives it a little ripe tropical banana smell. Very gentle back notes of oak.
Ardbeg Supernova 2014 (third edition) – 55% ABV
Info: Today Ardbeg launches it’s third edition of their peatiest Single Malt. The story is that Ardbeg sent a vial of whisky into orbit on ISS for 3 years to see what would happen to it… it’s now come back down to earth and this release coincides with that.
Colour: Straw to light gold.
Nose: Sweet peaty Ardbeggian smoke interlaced with light autumnal fruits. A little coastal nature with a slight spirity nip from the highish abv. However a generally relaxed and inviting nose, especially for something classed as their peatiest malt.
Ardbeg 10 Year Old – 46%
It’s been a while since my last post, summer has kept my whisky drinking to a minimum in favour of cold beers and ciders. However, continuing my wee series on affordable, mainstream, ‘standard’ distillery offerings that I’ve purchased myself, let’s take a look at Ardbeg’s 10 Year Old, a perfectly good dram for late on a summers eve.
Gossip (which I’ve heard direct from the horses mouth as it were – i.e. it’s true) is that back when stocks were low whisky up to 17 years old was used to keep this 10 year old in the shops. I guess those good old days are now far behind us and we’re now back to whisky that’s much more of the 10 year old mark, as you’d rightly expect!
Ardbeg Auriverdes – 49.9% abv
So as I’m sure many of you know by now, this years Ardbeg Feis Ile release will be Ardbeg Auriverdes. Before I review below, here’s a wee bit of the PR blub that I’m sure you’ve read before now:
Auriverdes is matured in American oak casks with specially toasted cask lids which were tailor-made for this whisky.
The toasting technique has given the whisky a distinctive flavour profile with the lids producing a mocha coffee flavour at one end, flowing into creamy vanilla at the other – truly a dram of two halves!
The name of Ardbeg Auriverdes derives from the colour of the golden whisky (auri) in Ardbeg’s iconic green bottle (verde). Auriverdes is also the nickname of the national football team of Brazil, hosts of this summer’s World Cup, and inspiration behind Ardbeg’s Peat Football tournament
Right then, that said, let’s have a quick review of this whisky to see what we can expect in May.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a sample (or two) of Ardbog sent to me, Ardbeg’s Feis Ile 2013 release. I also have a bottle of last years Feis Ile release open, Ardbeg Day, so why not let’s review them both together, head to head, and make some conclusions about the two. Here’s some quick info on this years bottling…
‘Ardbeg’s smoky sweetness has been intriguingly interwoven with salty, savoury whiskies which have slumbered undisturbed in rare ex-Manzanilla sherry casks, all for at least ten long years.’