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Ardbeg 1990 Airigh Nam Beist

Dangerously drinkable!

0 692

@jdcookReview by @jdcook

9th Jul 2011


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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I have previously reviewed this (connosr.com/reviews/ardbeg/…), but when my wife bought me a bottle I noticed it was significantly different than I remembered and from my notes, so I thought a re-review was in order.

So some info - the Beast was distilled in 1990 and was bottled in three batches - in 2006, 2007 and 2008. I don't know what year my previous Beast was bottled at, but this one is the 2008 bottling.

It's pale so it looks to me like it was probably exclusively or mostly aged in ex-bourbon barrels and it's pretty unlikely to have had any caramel added - but take that with a grain of salt, I don't know for certain, but that's what it looks like to me!

The nose is rich, full of velvety peat with salty highlights over a toffee apple sweetness. Gentle smoke is there as an undertone - but it's a bit greasy, like from a properly fired up barbeque with maybe a hint of good tobacco smoke. There's some iodine in the background and a hint of citrous as well. Really intriguing and keeps modulating, with it being slightly different every time!

The taste is creamy but surprisingly light. Initially full of peat, smoke and brine, it quickly and gently gives way to vanilla and citrous (maybe pineapple?), some mint and hints of good olive oil. Dangerously easy to drink, and very moreish.

The finish is moderately long and gently warm, full of citrous, olives and a peppery saltiness come to the fore and are tucked to bed by a nice warm peat and barbeque smoke blanket.

This is genuinely excellent, and really drinkable. The finish isn't short (not even close), but I find myself wanting to get back to this much quicker than a lot of other drams. Bit expensive (and far too hard to find nowadays) to be a session whisky... ;)

Just goes to show the difference different batches/bottlings can make.

Related Ardbeg reviews


UserRemoved commented

@jdcook, Great review! Spot on about ANB's drinkability. Once I open a bottle, it rarely lasts more than a few days. Although not as powerful as other Ardbegs, the ANB's balance is what's so amazing to me. It has a little bit of everything and melds it in perfect harmony.

Lucky for Californians, the ANB is readily available at decent prices.

9 years ago 0

jdcook commented

@whiskyshiba - A bit jealous that this is readily available. My wife found a bottle that had been languishing on the shelf of a local bottle-shop that was still priced at the same price it would have been stocked at 2-3 years ago. Can't find it anywhere else here... ;)

9 years ago 0

UserRemoved commented

@jdcook, Great "steal of a deal" mate. Don't you love when that happens? You have a great wife. My wife hates the smell of Islays and makes me drink it on the patio..lol.

Maybe due to our weather or lack of education on fine whiskys, Islays are not popular, let alone Ardbeg. LosAngelenos are more into Macallans and so-so whiskys in $10,000 Lalique decanters.

We may not have the Mac 64Yr in Lalique, but we have a lot of Ardbegs and other Islays.

9 years ago 0

jdcook commented

@whiskyshiba - a nice decanter is always to be appreciated, and I don't mind the odd Macallan, but I couldn't restrict my tastes to just that! Especially here right now, it's barely reaching 10 degrees Celsius outside, and there is snow settling to a couple of hundred metres above sea level, so the big smoky peaty stuff is certainly appreciated

9 years ago 0

joshk commented

I had my first taste of this, along with the new Alligator, last week. I'm not sure what bottling year it was but I found it very enjoyable and prefer it over the Alligator. I'll now be on the lookout if I can find it any local shop.

9 years ago 0

jdcook commented

@joshk - Good luck in your search, it is becoming increasingly rare nowadays, especially here in Australia, but apparently less so in Los Angeles... ;p

9 years ago 0

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