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Cask strength, non-chill filtered, no caramel added Ardbeg. I feel like I could wrap up the review here...
7yo Ardbeg aged in a 1st fill ex-sherry butt. “An Engineer’s Lunch-Box” @59.7% ABV and 1/602 bottles. Colour is light yellow.
To smell; Sexy peat smoke, with that nutty trait I associate with SMWS distillery 33, I often am reminded of salted cashews but in this instance it’s sweeter, and thanks to the 1st fill sherry butt the sweetness is steadily building.
Despite the building sweetness, dominance is won by a savoury smorgasbord, the sweetness propping it up; Pork, ‘dirty’ honey (honey with an industrial twist?), car tyre rubber, creosote, something grassy (a glance at the bottle label and the description compost has me saying “aha!”), hospital smell, a burnt out log fire the next morning, lemon rind.
To taste; Sweetness and smoke in happy union, perfect balance. Very well behaved and not at all aggressive for a cask strength 7 year old. Fairly similar to what the nose promised we again have something nutty, meaty undertones, followed by citrus orange, then a feint sherry red fruit note carries the spirit for a beautifully delicate finish; the politest of palates.
Balance is what comes to mind. It doesn’t grab your attention, but commands it if you are to discover all its secrets. Bad news guys, this is going to take the rest of the bottle to completely nut out ;)