Rich and weighty with heady and smoky aromatics, this expression of Ardbeg is both intensely flavoured and perfectly integrated. At full strength, the initial aroma is a beguiling mix of warm Christmas cake, walnut oil and parma violets fused with fresh ocean spice, cedar and pine needles falling from the Christmas tree. A smouldering smoky coal fire and the deep scent of well-oiled leather brings warmth to the scene. The sweetness of treacle toffees and chocolate-coated raisins bring indulgence through the smoke. Full flavoured and rich with a deep mouth-coating texture, the taste is an intriguing balance between sweet, spicy and deep smoky flavours. Amazingly long and chewy with lingering raisiny, deep mocha tones and rich aromatic smoke into the perfectly integrated finish.
Wine EnthusiastDark amber color and brooding, smoky scent. Although intense peat is characteristic of Islay Scotches and Ardbeg in particular, here the smoke goes too far. It starts with lovely vanilla, brine and light smoke, but the peat party simply goes on far too long. Adding water softens the feel of this cask-strength Scotch, but does nothing to dampen the smoke.