When the first batch of this Traigh Bhan was released, people went nuts, because an Ardbeg with age statement – a lovely 19 years to boot – is not something you see every day. That batch will now set you back some 300 EUR already. This year, batch 2 was released and can – with some effort, it is true – still be found left and right. It’s a vatting of American oak and oloroso sherry casks.
The nose is surprisingly fresh and fruit for Ardbeg, as if the peat – present, sure – seems to have ‘matured out’ as it were, giving peach, pineapple and limes the chance to shine. Some apricots and vanilla and only then some ashes and medicinal notes, almost as an afterthought. Finally I also get something that I can only describe as the small of a freshly opened pack of band aids.
Nicely oily and immediately very sweet. Vanilla custard, pineapple and peach, but also some hazelnuts. Quickly some soot, liquorice and a big dollop of brackish water kick in. The smokiness remains rather soft, while mint gives it a fresh lift.
The finish is medium long and somewhat drying on vanilla and oak. Mint has the last word.
Lovely Ardbeg indeed. Everything is finely balanced and I’m very impressed, except for the price tag of 250 EUR. FYI: Traigh Bhan (say ‘tree-van’) is the name of the beach close to the distillery and literally means ‘white soft sand that sings underneath your feet’.