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Ardbeg An Oa

The sweeter side of Ardbeg

6 886

@casualtortureReview by @casualtorture

18th Jan 2020

1

  • Nose
    22
  • Taste
    21
  • Finish
    21
  • Balance
    22
  • Overall
    86

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

My wonderful wife picked us up a bottle of this on NYE (too much of it was consumed that evening), and now a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon seems like a nice time to properly sit down and do a review. An Oa is a combination of spirit aged in Pedro-Ximenez sherry casks and bourbon barrels. Married in a French-oak marrying vat. Neat in a Glencairn.

Nose: The ex-bourbon casks shine through more than the sherry casks. Vanilla and honey at first whiff, followed by that lovely peat and dried grass on a hot dry day. Yes it is smokey, but subtlety so compared to the 10. It is also much sweeter than the 10 on the nose with the vanilla and honey really coming through.

Palate: Very tame for an Islay. Medicinal, vegetal and peaty, yes. But it is definitely aimed at people not used to Islay whisky as this is very tamed. Again, honey and vanilla from the bourbon casks are evident but the sherry notes are there; you just have to look for them, which makes things interesting. Between the peat, the honey, and the sherry notes, there is a decent amount of complexity and it does harmonize well. Again, this is sweeter than the 10.

Finish: Ah, now the sherry casks are here, front and center. Rose oil, young plums, and dates. Even sweeter now than before. Some smoke kindles after the sweetness subsides to round things off.

Overall: As far as intensity, this is turned down to appeal to people unfamiliar with Islay whisky I think. This is much sweeter than other Ardbegs I've had. It is good, but the intensity needs to get cranked up. There is a lot of great stuff here and a lot of good complexity and good flavor. The flavor is good, the transitions are great, and the flavors work together well. It is just too tame in my opinion. I want Islay whiskies to hit me, not caress and soothe me.

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8 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

@casualtorture thank you for your review. Since I drink Ardbeg for intensity, this review further confirms that I need not consider buying a bottle. Sounds like it would be fine for an offered drink, though.

about one month ago 4Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@casualtorture

“_ a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon _”?

I’ve shovelled 4 times today!

about one month ago 4Who liked this?

Expand image
@casualtorture
casualtorture commented

@Nozinan that looks miserable. shovel for what? We close the roads for 2+ inches here laughing

But yes for the US South it is cold and rainy today. I might crack open the Laph 10CS to warm me up later.

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

5 times... and there will be more

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@Nozinan, we are getting 12 hours of snow and high winds up north. Accumulations of snow 10 - 25 cm (4” - 10”)... we are already past 10 cm. I had to take the window out of the storm door to clear snow, in order to open the door.... gonna be one of those days/nights.

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@paddockjudge yes. It is like that. On my fifth shovel I also cleared snow from our back wall which is a basement walkout. My whisky is in the basement. No flooding allowed

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

A nice and very informative review. I have not yet tried this and might now want to focus on other stuff that is more of the 'slap-in-the-face' style.

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

I don't like the sound of that weather back there in Upper Canada, nor do I much like the sound of An Oa. Out here on the wet coast we've got endless rain and high winds and I can't even have a compensatory dram until the end of January. unamused

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

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