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Ardbeg 1998 - Still Young

Life Changing

0 699

@MaltActivistReview by @MaltActivist

28th Jan 2014

0

  • Nose
    25
  • Taste
    25
  • Finish
    25
  • Balance
    24
  • Overall
    99

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

They say the anticipation of sex is better than the sex itself. Ever since I began collecting malts I have had a fascination with Ardbeg. That was even before I had tasted one. My intrigue grew as did my appreciation of these brilliantly crafted malts and the Path To Peaty Maturity was my ultimate reward. I have the four in my collection but wasn't planning on opening them any time soon.

But then my close friend (who is now my best friend!) called me and said he had picked up a bottle of this gem and wanted to share it with me. And for that, Mr B, I will forever be in your debt.

Which brings me to my absurd sex reference up top. As I made my way over to Mr B's house I was extremely nervous that it would not blow me (pardon the pun) away. I have had a recent spate of 'beauties' (pun) which left me wanting and I desperately did not want Still Young to join that list of fallen expressions.

How wrong I was.

The nose is a symphony of perfection. The type that forces you to involuntarily close your eyes and throw your head back in pleasure (pardon the unintentional sensual imagery). The beautifully presented peat is lean and deliciously in control. I have yet to experience such understated balance and poise. The lemon citrus and rock salt comes through next drizzled on fresh melon rind. Let it rest and a gloriously perfumed dry white white wine emerges from the pale gold depths of the glass. One could be forgiven for forgetting to drink it.

The exquisitely textured spirit confidently traverses your palate with a rush of crumbling sugars, that same fruity melon, ripe lemon drops and a hint of aniseed. Such simplicity yet such grace. Only Ardbeg is capable of such brilliance.

The never ending finish holds you captivated for ages, allowing you to introspect on, what can only be described, as the perfect dram.

I'm not giving this one a perfect score because I don't want to stop searching. But even I know I've seen the promised land.

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6 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

99? Cool. You did not mention that Still Young is 8 years old. It always pleases me to see "young" whiskies receive very high scores. As far as I am concerned, years and maturity have so very little to do with one another. Maturity is all about the good taste and judgment of the master distiller as to when the flavours of the whisky are just right.

Don't know whether I'll ever get the chance to taste Ardbeg Still Young, but I'd certainly like to.

7 years ago 0

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

Funnily, I have come across this bottle a number of times over the years but never chose to acquire it. Seems that I was terribly wrong... I greatly enjoyed reading your notes and I agree: young Ardbeg whiskies often hold their ground towards older expressions. Lovely stuff!

7 years ago 0

@GotOak91
GotOak91 commented

Very enjoyable review. I too had a fascination before enjoying the item except mine is Laphroaig. But since I've had a few of the lineup. It has now added Ardbeg.

7 years ago 0

@MaltActivist
MaltActivist commented

@Victor Thank you once again, my friend, for pointing out important facts that I have an uncanny ability of leaving out from my reviews.

Yes, this is an 8 year old whisky and I, for one, am a huge proponent of taste over age. The Campbeltown beauty Kilkerran Work In Progress is a testament to that. Started off as a 5 year old and is now around 8-9 years old.

However, the danger, in my opinion, of letting distillers release NAS expressions is now they can charge what ever they like simply on the back of marketing rather than the true rarity of the product.

7 years ago 0

@maltster
maltster commented

I´ll second @Victor´s and your opinion - for me high scores are the result of the intrinsic qualities and composition of a Whisky. Age sometimes helps to add a certain level of complexity but what really counts is nose and taste (and fun...). There are great examples of young and excellent bottles - Caol Ila, Kilkerran, a certain 6yo Glenrothes from Adelphi..

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@tabarakRazvi, even discounting a potentially steep price-to-age-and-scarcity ratio of the whisky, the really tricky thing about 'buying quality' with all these new No Age Statement special releases is that when the brand is hot and the number of bottles being released is relatively small, you might have to make the decision about whether to pay the big price without having the benefit of reading a few reviews. If you wait, you might miss out entirely on getting any. And that hot new release just might be THE ONE BEST WHISKY YOU WILL EVER TASTE...or it might not even be one you like.

7 years ago 0

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