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It is well known that Glenmorangie PLC (yes, of the Highland whisky) took over Ardbeg in 1997. They released a series of whiskies to celebrate the rebirth (hence ‘Renaissance’) of the distillery. It started with the Very Young, followed by the Still Young and the Almost There, to be concluded with this 10 years old Renaissance. It is bottled at a cask strength of 55,9%.
Once past the initial alcohol burn, the nose is honey-sweet. Sure, there is iondine and seaweeds and a big chunk of peat, but my olfactory organ’s attention is drawn by the sweetness, that manifests itself in the form of chocolate, nuts and candied fruit! After a few minutes, it becomes very medicinal, like disinfectant. At the end a (totally un-annoying but rather excellent) hint of strawberry bubblegum. I am not making this up. Wait… I am, am I not?
The attack is very hot, very spicy and wonderfully sweet, but peat and even charcoal elbow their way to the front. Very smoky. When that initial wave has passed, apples and vanilla surface. Boy, oh boy, this is the good stuff. Add water? What am I? Nuts?
The finish is once again grandiose in length, sweet and smoky.
I can see why Ardbeg has so many followers. This Renaissance stuff is brilliant! Around 85 EUR.