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Ardbeg 1999 Galileo 12 Year Old

Average score from 16 reviews and 34 ratings 88

Ardbeg 1999 Galileo 12 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Ardbeg
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 49.0%
  • Age: 12 year old
  • Vintage: 1999

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@Nock
Ardbeg 1999 Galileo 12 Year Old

I bought and opened this bottle on New Year's Eve 2013. The tasting notes are from 9-9-2013.

Nose: Soft sweet peat but with an undercurrent of “intensity.” I have heard that this was closer to 51% then it was to 49%. This seems way more intense then the 46% TEN I am also tasting tonight. Soft sweet fruits: raspberries, strawberries, and their respective jams. Not the dark fruit, but the soft reds: very sweet. That all sits on a bead of soft peat. A distinct lack of smoke for an Ardbeg. Sweetness really dominates with the peat underneath. Smoke provides a nice subtle foundation: really a two-tone nose. Tons of wine notes now: if you had told me this was a blend of a sweet white wine and a peaty scotch I would have believed you. Now, confectioners sugar, candy sweets and lemon drops with a faint hint of liquorish in the background. Now darker fruits: cherries, and red apples dialing into the citrus notes. This does have a lot going on. With water: much more bourbon style notes of apples, vanilla, and sweetness (brown sugar etc.)

Taste: Very sweet fruits (high tones of sweetness) with hints of wood, spice and peat below it. Still, mostly sweet (nothing off).

Finish: Nice medium wave of peat . . . . and now the very slow roll in of peat, charcoal, and smoldering fire. A lovely alcohol burn . . . that lasts . . . It is more then decent. Big swell of rounded sweet fruit. Very little peat. Very little finish for an Ardbeg. It all just seems to disappear with only a hint of peat coated in raspberry jam . . . not bad, but not Ardbeg!

Complexity, Balance: Decent balance of sweet and peat. Where the sweet dominates the nose the peat really does stand firm by the finish. However, it isn’t overly complex. Really only a few tones here: finish and taste do not deliver what the nose promises . . . very interesting.

Aesthetic experience: Very dark golden compared to the TEN. Obviously evidence from the ex-Marsala casks. Totally a 1920’s Art Deco design. Too bad I hate that style. I do like the vintage year (1999) and I like that it is “cask strength” . . . but 49%??? After 12 years?? The Marsala casks must have dipped very low indeed. Over all the aesthetic seems a bit too caught up with Ardbeg going to space . . . I would rather Ardbeg stayed down to earth

Conclusion: My least favorite I have ever owned. I am VERY glad I bought a bottle, but I would never by a second bottle. This is not the Ardbeg I know and love.

@whiskyJoe and I split a generous sample of this one tonight, kindly provided by @cyclingyogi. I have to agree with much of your review here though...lots of "lighter" berry fruit notes and not much smoke/peat. A very un-Ardbeg, Ardbeg. I still quite enjoyed it, so I wouldn't penalize my scoring for it not being typical Ardbeg...but I would warn off those who are looking for the Ardbeg experience from this particular bottling.

@Pierre_W

Ardbeg is undoubtedly one of the most well-known and beloved malt whisky distilleries in the world. Founded by Alexander Stewart, Ardbeg’s first record as a distillery dates back to 1794, and commercial production began in 1815. During its long history the distillery was closed down on a number of occasions only to be reopened again by new owners each time. After having been mothballed in 1981 the distillery resumed production in 1989 and continued at a low level through to July 1996 when it closed again until the following year. In 1997 Ardbeg distillery was acquired by Glenmorangie plc (who shortly thereafter were taken over by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) and production resumed. Ardbeg Galileo was released in 2012 as a limited edition 12-year old to celebrate a two-year maturation experiment in space to test micro-organic compounds drawn from the distillery’s production. It is a vatting of different Ardbeg expressions distilled in 1999; in addition to the traditional first and second-fill ex-Bourbon casks used for the maturation some ex-Marsala wine casks from Sicily were used for Galileo.

The nose is surprisingly sweet and fruity with pineapple, banana and lemon. The fruity elements are complemented by rather soft peat smoke, a combination that works well. Without any doubt this is a delicate and elegant nose.

The palate is peppery on the one side and creamy on the other side. There is distinct smoke that is matched by vanilla sweetness, together with notes of apricots and ginger. As was the case with the nose, the palate, too, combines two opposites in taste and the result is more than satisfying.

The finish is long, creamy and pleasantly warming. Smoky and earthy notes abound at the end.

I would say that this is not your typical Ardbeg. The peaty elements are less dominant than in most other expressions, and the nose is as fruity as I have never experienced it before with an Ardbeg. Unusual or not, this worked for me.

s

I'll start by saying that I'm one of those Galileo bashers, but having that, I do like Ardbeg Galileo. To put it in the simplest terms, it's a pretty good whisky. It's 49% alcohol and it has a nice balance of smoke and sweetness. It's good for sure, but it's not over-the-top incredible. It starts with the typical peaty Ardbeg nose, but what's more prevalent than that is a kind of freshly baked pan dulce smell with some faint touches of a certain herbaceousness. I like it. The taste though is just kind of meh. It's got some sweetness. It's a little bit appley and peaty. I guess I would have to describe it as the flavor of marsala, but I've never tried the wine or the chicken dish, and the finish is toasty and smoky but not any different or better than I could find with Ardbeg 10 or a lot of other Islay whiskies.

So what's the problem with this whisky? It's the price. If I remember correctly, I paid $90 for this, and it just wasn't worth the money. I feel that price is definitely something to take into account when reviewing a product. I'd score a $40 whisky differently than I would a $90 one such as Ardbeg Galileo. This whisky simply wasn't worth the price charged for it. It's a shame that Ardbeg seems to be heading in the direction of Macallan. Although it's not advertised nearly as heavily, it's trying to be a name, and these limited edition whiskies are capitalizing on that name, but in the case of Galileo, limited does not mean better. I liked it, but it's only slightly better than the 10 yr, and nowhere near as good as Corryvreckan or Uigeadail, which are much cheaper. I originally thought that this whisky was aged in space, but it was named as such to commemorate sending other, smaller distillate samples into space. Not that being aged in space would have made it better, but with the costs of space travel I would have understood the high price tag. The use of marsala cask was different, but not better than what we usually find in lots of commonplace whiskies. I can't say for sure, but I would imagine old marsala casks would be cheaper to buy than old sherry casks since there's so much demand from many distilleries for sherry casks and very little for ex-marsala casks. Having worked in the liquor industry, I've heard of marsala casks being used for anything other than marsala. I'm not saying they aren't, but it's definitely rare, and it does not justify Galieo's high price tag.

I recently bought a bottle of Octomore Comus. It certainly was not cheap, and they don't waste any effort in telling you of its record-setting peatiness, so it's not without its gimmickry, but after having tasted Octomore (although pricey indeed) I felt that I had purchased a whisky that was both unique and immensely satisfying. With Galileo, it's 'They used marsala casks. Ok. And now it's double the price of the ten year. Ok.' It goes to show you that different, or unique, or limited isn't necessarily better. It's kind of upsetting as I like Ardbeg a lot, and also Islay Scotches as a whole, but after having paid so much for a whisky that was so meh, I will be very weary of Ardbeg in the future.

@vanPelt

Nose: at first very soft but impressions of banana cream pie and macadamia nuts. If inhaled too deeply/quickly/fully, a sharp anise of pumpernickel. A few minutes, then pencil erasers join in, then the main theme of-- if you've ever had them-- dried pineapple crisps. Not much peat unless you're really looking for it. The final stage of lift-off brings some buttery saltiness. The anise keeps coming back at the end of the inhale. Overall surprisingly light. Eventually, the nose stabilizes to dried pineapple quickly followed by lemon pudding.

Palate: Salt right away, then cream caramel... and then those dried pineapples come back. The "pine" in the pineapple comes through like the bitter zest of a grapefruit. Through it all, a definite mineral character.

Finish: The pineapple transitions to dried apricot. Then the finish is fairly short and soft, and leaving an impression of lemon. (I think you can also find vague mango). When these subside, a very faint seaweed prompts you for the next sip.

I think some comparisons are warranted and expected. So, to contrast with some others I've reviewed: -Uigeadail (and other Ardbegs)-- Probably the malt most people are urged to compare with; but in fact the Galileo has little in common with its big-splash siblings. The others are much more peated, so the Galileo might even be considered delicate. If you accept that the Uigeadail is ash/vanilla/rose-cherry (and the Alligator leather/toffee/orange, and the Corryvreckan ash/salt/lemon), then in comparison the Galileo is chalk/lemon-cream/pineapple. The Galileo's taste is more focused at the roof of the mouth whereas the Uig feels more like a full mouth.

-Glenlivet 18-- Shares some of the tropical notes (especially at the start), but Galileo is less smooth and sweet, more complex and sharper in a challenging sense. -Wiser's Legacy-- Shares the lightness, grapefruit and (to a much less extent) anise notes, but Galileo is of course lacking the same extent of rye, is a little fuller with tropical and marsala notes, and also introduces mineral tones. -Laphroaig QC-- Shares the smoky citrus pudding effect, but Galileo is much less smoky/nutty and is lighter/more pineapple-y.

Finally, I think it best compares to...: -Bowmore 17-- Shares the pineapple levity, the extreme lightness of peat, and other features (degree of salt), but the Galileo has more of that chalky mineral taste and other challenging complexities like the anise. All considered, I would personally steer to the Bowmore, but the Galileo does keep expected standards.

1/2 Year later: Galileo is actually smokier now, probably due to the warmer weather of summer (as I intended to test). I.e., that chalky (pencil-eraser) nose has a touch of ash in it (but is still creamy). The palate has also gained a touch of 'smoke'. The overall sensation is of pineapple & over-roasted macadamia nuts. These flavors are richer than I remember them a few months ago; I would give this a couple extra points now.

Thanks for this review! This whisky sounds quite complex. I haven't tasted the Galileo yet, but am a big fan of the big three (the 10, Uige and Corry). I find it interesting that you put the Galileo in a wider context beyond the typical Islay reference points, and especially with lighter, fruitier whiskies.

I now really want to try this, and there's a bottle sitting in a local liquor store within walking distance. This website is dangerous...

@MaltActivist

If anyone wants to know how to build a cult following have them intern with the folks over at Ardbeg. Who would have thought of sending new make spirit up in space? And then releasing an expression commemorating that? Say 'hello' to the Galileo.

I would like to say it has a typical Ardbeg nose but it doesn't. I mean it has the trademark peaty smoke (which is more pronounced than it's cousins) and strong honey notes. There is a slight saltiness with a touch of grass which gives way to a chocolatey fruit basket. But the smoke and the wood tend to overpower a little.

The full bodied palate is much more familiar though not as sophisticated as you would expect from this monster distillery. Intensely spicy amidst the dark chocolate, nuts and some citrus.

The rather long oily finish has slivers of phenol and aniseed. There is also, dare I say it, a drop of something bitter.

This is an increasingly rare bottling and a must in the collector's bar. Even though I would prefer to admire it on the shelf more than on my palate it still is a very drinkable expression.

Besides I heard it just won the World Whisky Award for best Single Malt. I must be daft or something...

Great review, Razvi! I agree with your tasting notes. Well done.

On another subject . . . if I fart and the gas drifts up through the upper atmosphere and into outer space does that mean all of my subsequent farts are "from" outer space? I don't understand why folks say this about Galileo, either. I've heard that comment quite a bit. It wasn't made in space so it's not "from" space.

Here is what the Mirror newspaper article said:

"The 12-year-old limited edition drop, which sells for about £150 a bottle, was created as part of a collaboration with space research company NanoRacks LLC.

The Houston, Texas, firm has been undertaking zero gravity experiments in space involving the maturation of chemical compounds in Ardbeg's whisky, while the distiller monitors control samples on Earth."

Monitors control samples? What a load of PR rubbish.

This said, Galileo is quite delicious, I agree. A very good bottle of scotch, although not as good as Beist. And Beist wasn't even "from" outerspace. Imagine that. Maybe a werewolf control group helped contribute to research on making Beist.

Thanks @rigmorole - glad you concur

And, yes, I know it's not from Outer Space! It's a bottling to commemorate the experiment ( I write that in my first paragraph )

It just made for a more interesting headline, thats all!

If you have the chance also check out my blog at maltactivist.com

Cheers

@manningsmith

I'm comparing Ardbeg's fancy Galileo to Ardbeg's bottom of the line 10 year, which is wonderful in its own right. Color: surprising difference! the 10yo is almost white, a pale citron. looks like it was only ever in oak. Galileo, is a beautiful amber russet. akin to mead vs. rum. Nose: 10yo is iodine, seaweed, charcoal, cigarette tobacco; Galileo is much more complex: plum, raisin, melon, blood, dusty cardboard, Christmas mass incense. Taste: 10yo is smoke, chocolate, dark cherry; Galileo is coffee, chocolate, spicy orange, caramel, leather. Finish: 10yo is tangy, chocolate, smoke in the back middle of the tongue and back palette; Galileo is much sharper with wood, coffee, chocolate, leather, cigar tobacco, smoke that covers your whole mouth. the extra 3% ABV makes a difference. I love the warmth of the Galileo. By itself, the 10yo is fine. Next to the Galileo, it's pale crap. The Galileo is lovely. I want to compare it to the Alligator next.

I once ordered three Ardbegs at once: Uigeadail, Corryvreckan, and Galileo. The Galileo was the most drinkable to my wife. I found the Galileo less balanced and sophisticated than the Uigeadail. The Corryvreckan was too amped up for my tastebuds. It was really hot and smoky. I didn't add water to any of them and should have in all fairness.

After my taste test, I ended up buying a bottle of Uigeadail. It seemed like a happy medium to me. In Oregon, the Galileo is too expensive in my estimation. It's up around $100 whereas the Uigeadail is $22 less. The ten year Ardbeg is very reasonably priced here but I am not a big fan of the ten year. I do like my bottle of Uigeadail very much. I tend to add a few teaspoons of filtered tap water to my drams of it.

This said, I've found that Ardbeg 10 goes extremely well in cocktails. A bar called Sweet Hereafter in Southeast Portland makes a cocktail called The Long and the Short of It with Ardbeg that is simply fantastic. One of the best mixed drinks I've ever tasted. I can throw back one after another and I'm embarrassed to say that I have on a few occasions. A friend of mine tried to keep up with me and got 86'd from the bar for drunkenness. I was not even slurring my speech at the time and stayed for one more before leaving since my wife was driving and she doesn't ever drink more than two drinks tops when we go out. My friend is 6'4 and outweighs me by about 40 pounds. He is not used to drinking Ardbeg. I find that Ardbeg Ten hits people hard that are not used to it.

talkeatdrinkportland.blogspot.com/2012/08/…

That's very interesting. Well, I'm going to try Alligator one of these days. It's at the Highland Stillhouse so I have the luxury of givin it a go. I do also like the Galileo. I still might purchase a bottle before it disappears off the shelves in a year or so. I guess it won't last forever. I agree it is tasty and the lack of balance grows on you. It's fun to have your tastebuds tugged two ways if you are in the mood for it. Nice post, Manning. I always enjoy reading comparisons.

www.youtube.com/watch

@talexander

Winner of World's Best Single Malt at the 2013 World Whiskies Awards, Ardbeg Galileo seems to be a controversial bottle. Marketed as a celebration of Ardbeg sending whisky into outer space (Really. Really? Really.), this was distilled in 1999 and matured mostly in ex-bourbon barrels, but also some ex-Marsala casks from Sicily, and bottled in 2012. I bought my bottle at Park Avenue Liquor Shop in NYC in October 2012.

The colour is interesting - pale gold but with a very faint reddish tinge to it; I don't think I've seen a colour quite like that before. The nose is classic Ardbeg peat smoke but with some mahogany behind it. Wet rubber boots, dark chocolate with sea salt, cherries and raisins. Fresh and invigorating but with depth. Water has a nice effect, bringing out summery fruits like strawberries and raspberries. After some time in the glass I get...dirty socks?

The palate is smoky with some hot spices, some caramel, a hint of grape. Pine needles, wet campfire, and behind that, dark cherries in syrup. Both mocha and lemon pith dancing together in the mouth. Like the nose, a very interesting balance between peat and sherry (yes, I know it's Marsala, not sherry. But if you had told me it was a sherry cask instead, I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference). Water provides a creamier mouthfeel.

The finish is very long and deep, ashen and fruity at the same time - again, very interesting but here it's a little imbalanced, to my mind. This is a very interesting malt, with a lot going on - for the most part, the balance between peat, fruit and oak is well maintained. Not my favourite Ardbeg in the world (and surprising that it would win Best Single Malt), but a fascinating dram nonetheless - despite the annoying marketing hook. Next, as per a discussion going on on this site, I'm going to review the Uigeadail.

I Haven't tried the Galileo, it wasn't exactly getting rave reviews which makes it a questionable choice for World's Best Single Malt. I just checked out the list of awards on the Whisky Mag. web site. Some other unusual choices: Scapa 16 over HP 18? not from my experience or that of many who have reviewed it. African Whisky of the Year? How many are there? I love most Ardbegs, but I took a pass on this one based on a number of luke warm reviews. Thanks for your thoughts @talexander, further confirmation that this is not the best Ardbeg.

All this controversy is making me want to try the Galileo even more, not less... Either way, thanks for the review.

@Rantavahti

The title of the movie "Layer Cake" refers to the layers or levels anyone in the drug business goes through in rising to the top. In Ardbeg Galileo that's just what I went through regarding taste. Of course I have to make it clear that the reference to the movie comes only from the title, there's nothing drug related in Galileo. It was pure fireworks of different flavors raising this whisky into the top charts of my taste buds. Even though I'm a big fan of smoke and a huge fan of Ardbeg's previous peaty products, the lack of peat was not a disappointment to me. In fact, this was a purely acceptable addition into the Ardbeg range. I wouldn't mind if this was one of Ardbeg's permanent products. Nice to see the delicate side of the otherwise so harsh whisky producer. It's kinda like XXXX, the masculine main character from Layer Cake played by Daniel Craig, had burst into singing and dancing in the 3rd act.

I've bumped into many negative remarks about the marketing of Galileo. I know that there's been lots of hype about their new-make spirit in space. That Galileo is supposed to be a 30 000 limited bottling celebrating Ardbeg's inter-stellar whisky and that it's been sold with ways to make it more desirable. I still have to say that I don't care. Stories to boost sales and productising are a everyday thing and after all, we are all adults for whom whisky is targeted for. We can always question the statements of the producers. At the end of the day, the backstories make the whisky tasting more interesting.

Nose: Tropical with some soft smoke. Very fruity with resemblance to wine, it must be the Marsala wine (I'm not a wine drinker myself).

Taste: The smoke clears very fast and after that there comes a layer of flavors such as some delicious wine, pineapple, creamy fudge, lemon and vanilla. Very smooth and though the taste is complex, yet it's easy to drink.

Finish: Soft and lasting finish with creamy and smokey notes.

Balance: Consistent and smooth, the delicate side of Ardbeg. A great mix of peat and fruit with emphasis on the fruity side.

Interesting review! I have one simple question for you... Is this bottle worth the price? I have been on the fence as to whether or not to buy this one and based on the somewhat mixed reviews, I just don't know...

Worth the purchase?

@CanadianNinja I saw Galileo today for ¥9,880 at Bic Camera. It was the most difficult whisky decision I've had so far. Had it said 8,990 i would have got it, but I walked home without it, but if you want one maybe you can check out your local Bic Camera.

J

Realised to commemorate a couple of vials of Ardbeg been shot into space and onto the international space station to observe how whisky ages in low gravity environments.

Nose: The peat smoke is quite heavy and think much smokier then last years limited release the alligator, has hints of peach, Mellon and apricot like fruit sweetness. The vanilla notes from ardbegs bourbon barrels is there as well. Gets a slight creamy smoothness from extended air contact as well.

Palate: Starts quite sweet, with a nice fruitiness from the wine (peach, plum, melons) and a good hint of vanilla. Quickly becomes peaty and salty and medicinal like you would expect from and Ardbeg. Becomes smooth and creamy towards the end of the palate.

Finish: finishes with tastes of salty peat, hints of sweetness and a good cloud of smoke.

I liked this whisky a lot particularly how the fruity sweetness (very different from the oogys fruity sweetness) balances with very strong hits of smoke. Also as a side note I thought the whisky had a very pretty colour, never seen a whisky that was so amber sap kind of gold before.

b

I actually purchased this bottle by looking at the box; it's Ardbeg, how could I go wrong?

Nose: peat with hints of apricots, raisins, lemony.

Palate: peat,apricots,raisins,cloves. Initially smooth.

Finish: Ashy, vanilla,cloves, briny lemon.

Memory(smell of glass afterwards): Leather, raisins.

I felt this scotch fell short. There was a lot going on, however, it seemed like it was missing something. Don't get me wrong, this was an enjoyable scotch to drink, but it lacked something I can't seem to pinpoint.Perhaps its because I don't like cloves;It had a bit of a sharp unpleaseant edge to it.

For me, it's a beast with two backs. For some reason, the sherry fights the peat a little. I like Galileo but I will never buy a bottle. This said, I have bought a glass in a bar and I did have a glass at a friends' house a while ago.

I am now interested in trying a glass of the peated Admore traditional cask. It's very hard to find in bars, which, if they do have Ardmore, always seem to stock the 12 year. I am curious if the peated Admore it delivers a nice light peat backhand, rather than an outright facepunch.

When it comes to the Islas, I am not crazy about outright peat monsters. I like fraternizing with peat leprachauns, sprites, and perhaps peat hobbits. Galileo falls in this category for me. Then again, the last time I drank a glass of Alligator, I didn't have any water handy to put in it. Boy, that really dried out my throat.

@SquidgyAsh

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.

Purchased!

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.

Sweeet!

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!

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

T

On first inspection this whisky appears to be contained in some kind of a "bottle", apparently made of glass.

Not wanting to be half-arsed about writing this review, I thought I'd find out for sure, so I poured the whisky into an old tupperware container that still had the remains of last weeks mashed potato around the rim, and threw the bottle as hard as I could onto the kitchen floor.

Unfortunately it must be better quality than I thought - it rebounded back up, came within the width of a pubic hair of braining me, and then traced a looping trajectory into the lounge where it collided with my wife's King Charles Spaniel who was cleaning its balls on the sofa. Said spaniel (she calls the disagreeable little bastard Woo-woo of all things) is now at the vets with a collapsed lung and nerve damage. I told the wife it got run over.

The bottle finally shattered when it bounced through the TV, so I can confirm that it was made of glass.

I decanted the whisky slowly into a snifter, and held it up to the light.

To my eye it is the colour of 15,000 year old amber formed from the branch of an oak tree that was blown over in a mid winter hurricane in the South of France. [EDITED BY MODERATOR]

On the nose this whisky is light and fragrant, with undertones of a warm spring rain falling on freshly cut grass, [EDITED BY MODERATOR]

Upon swirling the whisky on my palette I was immediately hit by strong notes of peat, ash, and smoky burnt paper. On reflection I realised this could arguably be attributed to the fact that I have been using the snifter as an ash tray, so in the interests of writing a fair review I poured some more into a clean glass, being careful to strain the whisky through a sieve to remove the lumps of mashed potato.

This time the dram was far more satisfying - with notes of cinnamon, an open fire in a damp forest with buffalo chips for fuel, and coffee made from beans picked from the faeces of the civet cat, gathered by a 59 year old Vietnamese peasant with bad breath and acne who didn't clean the beans very well afterwards.

As the embers died down it was chewy - so chewy! and with a faint taste of copper. That was when I realised I had bitten off a piece of my own tongue while shitting my pants as the bottle rebounded back up at me earlier on.

The finish - Christmas pudding, ginger, cinnamon cloves in front of the wood burning fireplace [EDITED BY MODERATOR]

Hahah 109% ABV. Awesome! I hope Woo-woo recovers from the bottle incident and that your tongue grows back to its original length. At least this whisky should have served as both pain-killer and disinfectant in that regard, so fingers crossed and I hope for a speedy recovery. You will never get that hour of your life back but at least you've managed to entertain two blokes on the other side of the ditch, if nothing else.

Oh so THAT'S what a troll is?! ha ha No I am only on here cause I am really into single malt scotch, just thought I'd liven things up a bit. Everyone so far is "getting" it and not taking offence, which is good since none is intended.

@Devo

Nose: Like the Airigh Nam Beist, I find the nose on this quite understated. The sweet, creamy peat and the tobacco notes of the 10-year are all here, but significantly muted by the wine. That said, even the wine note isn't all that assertive. Getting fleeting citrus notes, as well as a really crisp seaside note, hints of leather and whiffs of baked peach cobbler.

Taste: A really unique heavy salty-sweetness right off the top. Honeyed ham, salted caramel and perhaps over-ripe banana? Sweetness relinquishes dominance quite quickly and lets the peat, smoke and salt through in a dense wave. A surprising amount of brine takes hold of your tongue with this Ardbeg--perhaps too much for some tastes. I, however, quite enjoy it and like that this whisky keeps you on your toes with a triple attack of sweet, smoke and salt.

Finish: Medium-Long. The brine notes hold on longest through the finish and remain in the foreground, while the smoke and peat recede. Finish is surprisingly savoury considering the promise of sweetness suggested by the nose and first moments of the taste, although there are faint whispers of chocolate and dried fruit near the end, as the briney notes mellow.

If you like graceful, integrated whiskies. This might not be for you. But, personally, I like that it has a bit of a multiple personality disorder. What it lacks in integration it makes up for with character. I also suspect this is the kind of whiskey that really finds its voice when the bottle is about half full, so while I think this is currently sitting just shy of a 90 for marks. I'm going to round up based on this prospect, and the fact that I'm on a bit of a salty whisky kick right now.

About halfway into the bottle now. This one hasn't improved as I'd thought with oxidization, so I've tweaked the marks accordingly.

@markjedi1

Ardbeg is one of the most hyped distilleries of Scotland, but not completely unwarrented. They have launched many great whiskies so far. The anticipation for this new Ardbeg Galileo reached new heights, making the bottle sell like crazy and hard to find already. It is a 12 Year Old from 1999, finished on Marsala casks, the sweet wine from Sicily.

The nose is typically Ardbeg, with the peat, seeweads and tar, but that is completely rounded out with very fruity notes from melon, peach and pineapple. There is even a hint of chocolate. No peat in your face, but a warm welcome to Islay, with loads of sweet fruits.

The palate is the perfect continuation of the nose, in which the Marsala again makes sure it does not turn too peaty. The pineapple dries, reminding me of pineapple cubes. A bit of citrus. Oranges and lime. Softly spiced with a slight bitterness as if from cloves. Very accessible.

The finish is medium long and remains fruity, therefor excluding any resemblance with the regular Ardbeg 10 Year Old.

This is a fine and modern Ardbeg, which threatens to disappoint the truly die-hard peatfreaks because of the sweetness. But to me, it is more than a nice addition to the Ardbeg range.

interesting! hmm...i'll have to revisit this one again. i felt that the smoke emerged towards the end of the finish line, which reminded me of javier bardem in "No Country for Old Men"--kinda innocuous at first, but he comes out of nowhere and kicks u in the booter. though, i'll have to agree that there is that sweet, dark fruit note as the main core. i like your review! :D

I don't see sweetness getting in the way of any peat lovers' enjoyment with Ardbeg Galileo. Those "die-hard peatfreaks" love Laphroaig Quarter Cask, and I don't find Ardbeg Galileo to be any sweeter than that.

It is always wonderful to find a high-peat whisky that succeeds well with wine flavours worked into the mix. And these Marsala flavours in Ardbeg Galileo are not an afterthought or a subtle accent, but are prominently displayed on the cover of the publication.

@GT2

Reviewed by @GT2

0 7100/100

App- Deeper bright gold for Ardbeg. Thick, rambunctious legs.

Nose- Out of this world no pun intended. Sharp mango and moldy white grapefruit are unseen before in this style. Very sharp chamomile as always with vanilla bean ice cream, cinnamon and clove, starfruit and kumquat.

Taste- Rich and oily with nectar fruit acid. Mango and grapefruit sweetness blend with vanilla bean dessert and baked apple pie.

Palate- Mildly hot with rich oil, bitter tea herbs, vanilla bean husk.

One of the brightest and certainly the most fruity Ardbeg. Very easy to enjoy. Easy shoe-in for my favorite Scotch so far.

I don't think there is any room for improvement- it's definitely my favorite so far. Doesn't need to be sipped as slowly as others and it is brighter/fruitier than anything I've had in the smokey realm.

Again, I'm not an expert and have only had the whiskeys pretty much that I've reviewed. I have a bottle of Alligator arriving soon so will compare it to that. Though I can already guess that the Alligator with be sharper smoke and the Galileo with be softer fruits.

I understand that a whisky can manifest to a person as not being capable of being improved upon, and I can even imagine giving a whisky 100 points, though I don't believe that I will ever do that myself, but...I do not think that a person can possibly call a whisky "The best that exists on this planet" without having sampled every whisk(e)y that exists on this planet.

@Victor

Ardbeg Galileo, officially released approx. September 1, 2012, is a 12 yo Cask Strength whisky--understated from 50.6% ABV to 49% ABV, according to master distiller Bill Lumsden--finished in Marsala wine casks.

There is a lot of discussion as to whether these unique expressions are worthwhile additions to the distillery line, or are merely attempts to garner profits through hype and increased prices

Nose: very wine fruity, sweet, big vanilla, the usual briney, smokey, peaty, medicinal Ardbeg, with many shades of Marsala wine. Delicious

Taste: fifty shades of Marsala wine, all good. The Marsala finish is quite noticeable and very delicious. Strength of flavours is quite good, and only slightly reduced from that of some of the strongest Ardbegs. Nice malt, nice peat, nice smoke. Much to like

Finish: good lasting consistent finish

Balance: this one works. I wish Ardbeg would make this part of their standard line. I am a huge fan

Can Ardbeg Galileo be forgiven for being wine forward, and typical-Ardbeg-supported, rather than typical-Ardbeg, supported-by-wine? For me, yes, because I am evaluating the whisky sui generis, and not making assumptions about what it should taste like based on the distillery from which it originated. 100 pts? No. Best Whisky in the World? Certainly not for me. Very good? yes, I do most definitely continue to think so,...albeit it is more wine-forward and a little out of the groove of other Ardbegs. This has its own niche for me, and it is a different niche from other Ardbeg whiskies. Typical Ardbeg? No, emphatically not. Forgiven for that sin? Yes, I do forgive it...and will continue to enjoy drinking it when its own peculiar niche flavours are what I crave. Are those cravings for Galileo similar to cravings for Ardbeg Uigeadail, Ardbeg Ten, Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist, Ardbeg Supernova 2010, or Ardbeg Corryvreckan? No. For me they are entirely different cravings. A trip into Galileo-Land is not a trip into traditional Ardbeg Nirvana. But, I most definitely have a mood and a temperament that makes Ardbeg Galileo Just-The-Right-Whisky-For-The-Moment. And that is why I continue to think very highly of Ardbeg Galileo.

As @Willis said, @Victory, that was a quick one! I'm wondering if yours is the first online review anywhere.

I'm aware of Ardbeg Expression Overload, but I've yet to see a negative review of any Ardbeg. Perhaps a few that are less than raves -- the Blasda is B-level in the opinion of many, while the Supernova is knocked for being overpriced -- but a bad or even mediocre one? Haven't seen any so far.

I'd love to try all of them, but then my whisky budget would be exhausted on nothing but Ardbegs. For now, my 10yo and Uigeadail will have to do as I dream (rather than dram) about the rest. ;)

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