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Ardbeg 1999 Galileo 12 Year Old

Fruit Wrapped in Smoke That Lingers

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@SquidgyAshReview by @SquidgyAsh

17th Nov 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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A while back Ardbeg released a new limited edition bottling called Ardbeg Galileo. It was a 12 yr old whisky aged in first filled ex bourbon casks and ex Marsala casks from Sicily. It was bottled at 49% ABV.

OK now that the technical stuff is out of the way let's get to the nitty gritty. This was a massively anticipated release from one of the most popular Islay distilleries, that set the whisky world on fire. People were panting and salivating about this whisky.

How much was it going to cost?

How many bottles were going to be produced?

Would they be able to afford and find a bottle?

Finally the big day came and Ardbeg Galileo was released in whisky stores across the UK.

And they sold out immediately. Within hours.

Prices seemed reasonable, but they were flying off the shelves.

A couple days after the Galileo's release Abbey Whisky posted in my Facebook feed that they'd received a shipment of Galileo, so I immediately sent them a message asking if I could purchase a bottle and have them hold it until I arrived in Scotland.

Not a problem he said.


In the intervening weeks surprisingly Galileo made it's way to Australia where in some stores it was running for almost $300 AUS.

Holy crap!

I'd managed to snag mine for a much more reasonable price, somewhere along $100 AUS I'd say.

Then as the weeks pass I hear that Abbey Whisky is down to the last few bottles of their 40 yr old Secret Casks.

Considering that it's a sexy whisky, 40 yrs old, which runs for less then $250 AUS, I decided I needed to grab a bottle for myself.

When it shipped to Australia, my friends at Abbey Whisky threw in my bottle of Ardbeg Galileo into the package to come over, no shipping fees needed.


Now I wouldn't have to wait a year to try this whisky!!

It arrived beautifully protected and when I saw that beautiful bottle I could only grin.

I couldn't wait to open this bottle!

A couple weeks go by and after a long day at work my wife and I decided to crack it open and try a dram.

Maaaaan this is going to be soooo good!

We crack it open and pour it into a glencairn and immediately give it a nose!

Intensely smoky at first, but given a few minutes to let the air get to it and it becomes so very lovely.

Still smokey, but not over the top with lots and lots of beautiful fruit.

Big vanilla hit, bananas, tropical fruits, sea brine, typical Ardbeg medicinal notes, toffee, peat, all wrapped in a delicious sooty smoke.

Love it! The wine cask influence is IMMEDIATELY noticeable.

Time for a taste!

Lovely and intense flavors, sooty fudge, bananas, salt, peat, smoke, little bit of a pepper kick. Interesting combination of sweet, salty and sooty. Loving it!

A smokey chocolate with fruit creates a long smokey finish that lingers, coating the mouth, leaving just a hint of toffee at the end of the finish.

What can I say? I love it!

Pure and simple!

It's not quite what I expect out of Ardbeg, but this is a kickass whisky, by any standard.

And easily worth the $140 or so that it's running here in Australia. I'd happily pay that for this whisky.

It's big, complex, lasting with the combination of smoke and fruit creating an oh so lovely combination rolling around your mouth.

If you like smokey whiskies, buy this bottle. Pure and simple. If you don't you're crazy!

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Jaimie commented

Gotta agree... I keep coming back to this dram again and again. It is truly beguiling. Glad I have 3 extra bottles :-)

8 years ago 0

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