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Ardbeg 1990 Airigh Nam Beist

Slightly formulaic Islay malt

0 984

@jdcookReview by @jdcook

9th Nov 2009

0

  • Nose
    21
  • Taste
    20
  • Finish
    22
  • Balance
    21
  • Overall
    84

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

After galg's review of the Airigh Nam Beist the other day, I though while I was heading down to 'The Lark' to taste their wares, I would also see if they had a bottle lying around (they have a pretty big whisky collection on the shelves), and buy a glass. They did, so here were my notes:

The nose is warm, peaty and smoky, with notes of sea salt and a subtle maltiness. Not a very complex nose, but pleasant enough.

The taste is light, which is slightly surprising for a peaty smoky Islay malt. Once again there are sea salt notes, and after a second some caramel comes through as well. While all the elements of a good Islay dram are there, this seems just slightly disappointing.

The finish is long, smooth, with the smoke and peat slowly warming over the top of the caramel sweetness.

It's a fine dram, but it's like they took the formula for an Islay malt and reproduced it perfectly, but missed the key ingredient - character. All Islay malts are distinctive, and this feels like it is trying to blend into the background. Just like how hollywood take a style of movie, then make it formulaic, thereby killing off half the fun.

So, it's not on my wish-list, but certainly not bad by any means. It probably should be an 8.5, but it lost a half point because Ardbeg's should be better.

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9 comments

@galg
galg commented

very nice. i felt less peaty stuff on the nose. i have also compared it to the corry in a post i wrote yesterday , so check it out: bit.ly/CorryvsBeastie

10 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

That's a nice comparison - looking forward to trying the Corryvreckan.

10 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

My wife just bought me a bottle of the 2008 bottled version, and it has a lot more spice in the nose and taste than the bottle I had down at the Lark. Hints of black pepper, cinnamon and cardamom, as well red fruits. The palate is thicker than I remember, and creamier.

There's a depth to my bottle compared to what the one I previously had. This one would probably been closer to 23's and 24's for a total around 94 or 95...

Maybe it just tastes better coz it's mine... ;)

9 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@jdcook, there is a lot more variation in bottles and batches of these various whiskies than people would like to think. It is neat and tidy in the mind to think, "Whisky X tastes this particular way." Well, unless you have tasted every bottle of it from every batch made, and no one has, all you can really say is "This bottle of Whisky X tastes this way to me."

9 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

...and "...this is how this bottle tastes to me NOW." because even the one bottle you have gotten to know may taste very noticeably different after the bottle is open six months.

9 years ago 0

Peatpete commented

The extra comments and score for your own bottle seem much more in keeping with my personal experience of this dram.

9 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

@Victor - indeed. I might throw in a new review for the Beist just to show the new changes - I'll include any bottling marks I can find on the bottle.

@Peatpete - I have heard that the second of the tow Beist bottlings was significantly better than the first, and the first bottle I had was probably sitting open on the shelf at the Lark for a number of months before I got to it - so it may well have been from the first bottling, and may well have dulled down a little as a result of oxidation from being open on the shelf too long (this suits some whiskies better than others).

9 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@jdcook, I think it is a great idea for you to do a second review, but the point I make is that this is two different reviews of two different whiskies, that just happen to both be called Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist.

9 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

@Victor - it certainly is. Even two bottlings from the same batch are often significantly different, but bottlings from different batches are always different even though most distilleries do their level best to standardise their process and raw materials, it never comes out the same. Not to mention that the difference between two bottles from the same batch where one has been open for months compared to an unopened bottle will also be significant. And this may be the case for my different experiences in this case - I didn't get a good look at the bottle the first time round. So although I suspect my first experience was from the first bottling, not the second, that is only my suspicion but that may not be the case!

I'll write it up the new review this weekend sometime.

9 years ago 0

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