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Ardbeg ‘Renaissance’ was launched in 2008 as the first 10-year old bottling entirely comprised of whisky produced after the acquisition by Glenmorangie in 1997. I brought a bottle to the last of Ardbeg’s 200th anniversary dinners on 24 October 2015, during which the bottle was consumed almost entirely, leaving just a wee rest from which I put together these tasting notes. By the way, @Nock, there was no code on the bottle.
The nose is smoky and earthy. Next to the smoke that is rather distinct, I detected flavours of milk and porridge, together with notes of lemons and apples. Adding water brings forth more lemons and changes the full-blown smoke into a ‘mellow’ bonfire. A gentle nose indeed!
The palate is medium-bodied and spicy. Smoke now comes in waves across the tongue, followed by vanilla and a touch of lemon. With water the spiciness is reduced and there are more vanilla and lemon flavours, followed by just a hint of banana and chocolate.
The finish is long and warming, smoky and quite dry. There now are very faint notes of coffee and liquorice.
I loved and still love this vintage Ardbeg. It is gentler and less boisterous than most Ardbeg expressions, really very refined. This remains a favourite of mine back from the time when I first became interested in single malt whisky. Too bad that it has become quite expensive to obtain.