Ardbeg 1976? Seriously? Yup. Italian collector Enrico Gaddoni has quite a few old bottles in his collection and since he recently joined me as a colleague at Catawiki, we became friends. When I ran into him at Spirits in the Sky in Brussels, this bottle was on his table. Nowhere to be found by now and if you do, you’ll need to have deep pockets. ‘You want to try this?’, he asked. ‘Do bears shit in the woods?’ I answered and held out my glass. Sit tight, this is a great one. Yes, the nose is ‘old style’ Ardbeg indeed. I say that with a big smile, while in fact I have only tried like five old style Ardbeg, but still, it is unmistakable (or unrecognizable if nosed blind). Wonderfully fruity on mango, papaya, banana and kiwi, supported by a soft and nicely integrated peat smoke. This is almost delicate and absolutely elegant (for an Ardbeg). After a few moments, the classic characteristics show up: white fruit, liquorice, seaweeds and something candied. Touch of caramel and even some sherry. Flabbergasting. Give me a few minutes… It is creamy, very sweet and salty all at the same time. A small OMG moment passes. Fresh citrus and feisty spices. Suddently hugely fruity and medicinal with iodine, cough syrup, ashes, Turkish Delight and Seville oranges. Salted caramel. Waxy. Better than sex (did I actually type this? Hope wifey isn’t reading along). The finish is very long in which the peat lingers and keep the mouth warm, while the sweet sherry rears its head one more time. An absolute masterpiece by Ardbeg. One for the history books. Thank you, Enrico!