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The Airigh Nam Beist hit the shelves for the first time in 2006. It is Gaelic for ‘Shelter of the Beast’, pronounced ‘arri nam baisht’ and named after the second lake south of Uigeadail (another tongue twister). In 2007 and 2008 new batches were released of this originally 16 Year Old whisky.
I get sweet, delicate peat, seaweeds and iondine (but less than expected) on the nose, followed instantly by fruit in the guise of lemon, peach and Granny Smith apples. A little farmy too. Dried flowers and hay. Not really a stable scent, but close enough. I imagine myself it is the scent of the Beast’s lair.
The first thing I notice, when the whisky carresses the tongue, is the generous creaminess. Caffé Latte. Followed immediately by salt and pepper and a whole lot of citrus (but less than on the nose). The peat is less delicate here, as if it has had enough of sulking in the corner. A slice of smoked ham (from the Beast?) and a lot of liquorice. Very, very nice.
The finish, on liquorice and sea salt, is wonderfully long.
The nose was okay, but on the palate, it is a stellar whisky. Ardbeg enjoys cult status. The big downside is the fact that bottles increase in price faster than you can imagine. This was originally sold for around 70 EUR, but today you will have to fork over (even for the newer batches) double that amount.