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Ardbeg Ardbog

Average score from 16 reviews and 31 ratings 88

Ardbeg Ardbog

Product details

  • Brand: Ardbeg
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 52.1%

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Ardbeg Ardbog

I have a couple of Ardbegs kicking around that I haven't reviewed yet; not only am I going to take a look at each one individually, but I'll compare each of them to the standard Ardbeg 10 Year Old.

The Ardbog is Ardbeg's 2013 Ardbeg Day annual release. Some of the malt has been matured in ex-Manzanilla sherry casks, and at 52.1% I presume this is cask strength. Thanks to @Victor for helping me obtain this bottle.

The colour is a medium mahogany - the darkest Ardbeg I think I've ever seen. On the nose there is a complex interplay of sweet, savoury and smoky: bacon, salami, furniture polish, Christmas cake, tobacco, stewed prunes and baked apples. Dark chocolate. Burnt caramel and motor oil. A little bit herbal. Some water adds milk to the dark chocolate, and tames the nose. There is a lot going on here - sometimes it gels, sometimes it doesn't.

On the oily palate, things somewhat clash: peat, brine, rum-raisin, milk chocolate and old leather. Very fruity with plum, black cherry and dates. Nutty. Spicy with the high ABV; less so with water. I like many of the individual notes - it's rather mouth-watering and at times delicious - but it is constantly shifting and is woefully off-balance.

The finish is off-putting: cigar ash, sherry and spice with developing leather. This is such an interesting dram, with all sorts of flavours and aromas going on, but it is so all over the place, it's hard for me to really recommend it. Murkier than the 10 Year Old, it doesn't quite achieve that one's near-perfection. It has gotten some great reviews (Dave Broom scored it a 91 and was named Editor's Choice in Whisky Advocate) but, even as a die-hard Ardbeg lover, I find it too challenging.

Old thread, my two cents on 'balance' and 'harmony', both of which I use with slightly different nuances: 'balance' seems to me more a static concept, looked at from one moment in time, whereas 'harmony' looks to me to be more of a dynamic moving of the flavours past one another.

I use 'balance' in the sequential review scoring as the one overall static descriptor, which is mostly outside of time and space, because it applies to all of the sequential stages of tasting. For me the sequential review framework is all about static snapshots in time at each of the tasting stages.

I do a non-sequential review also to emphasise the elements across time, or, the elements as they change in time. If you even hold in your mind the thought of the whisky across all of the tasting steps, you will inevitably have the memory of the entire tasting sequence flow through your mind as you do so.

Both snapshots and videos are useful.

BlueNote, is your point that we shouldn't bother defining what "balance" means? If so, I disagree. This seems worthwhile.

For the first time—after reading an ungodly number of whisky reviews over the past ~5 years—I might finally understand why anyone would give a rat's behind about "balance." It's because they really mean "harmony."

Whether some insanely delicious flavor (say, wood smmoke) is "balanced" by something different seems irrelevant to me. However, the presence of other flavors that are in HARMONY with that woodsmoke, well, that's nice.


If there’s one distillery that can marry peat and sherry beautifully, it’s Ardbeg. I mean, who doesn’t like the Oogie? But here’s the Ardbog, the widely anticipated annual release from 2013. It’s a ten year old whisky that’s been matured in both bourbon and Manzanilla sherry casks. If nothing else, this is one of the most unique and mouth-pickling Ardbegs to be had.

Nose: Initially shy, but water and time help. Salt, indistinct sherry, green apples, blood orange, pine. A young tinge to this.

Palate: Very salty. These briny notes almost pickle the tongue. Chocolate, sherry, red fruit, earth, damp leaves.

Finish: Indistinct sherry, chocolate, green apple, wine tannin, paprika, pepper, fennel, minerals. Long and drying.

Certainly one of the more unique Ardbegs out there. The drying effect is powerful and distinctive. But it does taste a touch young, and the sherry and peat don’t work as harmoniously as they do with the Uigeadail. Although it’s well layered and extremely coastal, for me it’s more interesting than it is brilliant. All things considered, I prefer the core range. Pricey, but definitely a cool one to try.


Ardbeg organises an Ardbeg Day on May 31th. The company launches a limited edition expression for the Festival of Malt and Music. True Ardbeggians will go and fetch it on the island itself during Feis Ile. Regular fans could score the 2013 edition rather easily in specialised liquor shops. If they were quick enough of course.

Last year's expression was a celebration to the peat bogs that are the very core of the Ardbeg flavour. Basically this was an Ardbeg 10 with a plus. The whisky was a marriage of spirit matured in bourbon and manzanilla sherry casks.

Tasting Notes Colour: This golden hued whisky translates stickyness to a delicious texture with nice slow tears along the glass.

Nose: Ardbeg wouldn't be Ardbeg without a decent dose of peat smoke. Forget about Blasda - everybody makes mistakes right? - for a moment. The first rendez-vous is sharp and stinging in the nose. Rock sugar, raisins and ripe bananas. And it continues with leather, mint, cinnamon biscuits and salted caramel. At the very end of the trip it treats you on a heap of wet clay soil.

Adding water enhances sweet and spicy flavours. Honey, vanilla, cinnamon and clove are the usual kitchen suspects.

Taste: On the palate Ardbog evolves like a whirlwind of salt and sweet. Salted caramel with roasted almonds and raisins. A fair share of toasted oak. Strong coffee with some whipped cream, caramel and grounded star anise. Eat this Starbucks!

Finish: The finish keeps the honey sweetness and combines it with pepper, warm pastis and coffee grounds.

Conclusion This limited Ardbeg was easily found in liquor shops. The initial price tag varied between € 80 and € 90. Not exactly cheap for a NAS (after reading the small print, it became clear it is ten years old) but still great value for your money.

The price was a small affair given the extortionate prices some shops are asking right now. You still find it, but now it will easily set you down € 160 for the very same product. Economic scarcity... and hype... and snobbishness at work.

In short: this Ardbeg is a very tasty dram, but became prohibitively expensive. Uigeadail is probably a better alternative.

Normally I don't give a score to whisky's (You won't find any one the blogs) because it is too much influenced by the gout du jour. It is subject to too many parameters and can vary according to my mood, the weather, the food, ...

In intrinsic quality I think (it's a personal thing) superior to the 10yo but not in a way I'd pay the double or even the triple for it.

I hope to devise a decent and consistent scoring system one day. Don't mind them too much, because I don't ;) Which shows in the inconsistent score I give sometimes. And yes, if it was more reasonably priced for a 1Oyo whisky, that's what Ardbog is after all, it would have gotten one or two points more...

Thank you for another excellent review, @tastydram. I appreciate your descriptions. You seemed to quite like this one, so I was curious whether your score reflected the overinflated price? I noticed you scored the Ardbeg 10 equally-- which is a bad sign if the Ardbog is supposed to be "10 with a plus"! By the way, you preferred the Loch Gorm to this one?


I'd had this bottle for a few months before opening it up but it was well worth the wait. A delicate nose (for an Ardbeg) with an initial influence of raisins, peat smoke and honey. Much more subtle than the Oogie or esp. Corryveckan. Smokey raisin and Toffee, a hint of leather and Maple syrup coupled with a salty sea spray tang and a wee bit of coconut as well. Deliciously smooth, subtle and sweeter than the Oogie yet lacking the Oogie's overall depth. A long honeyed finish with the peat in the near background. A lovely after dinner malt. Slainte!


I'd had this bottle for a few months before opening it up but it was well worth the wait. A delicate nose (for an Ardbeg) with an initial influence of raisins, peat smoke and honey. Much more subtle than the Oogie or esp. Corryveckan. Smokey raisin and Toffee, a hint of leather and Maple syrup coupled with a salty sea spray tang and a wee bit of coconut as well. Deliciously smooth, subtle and sweeter than the Oogie yet lacking the Oogie's overall depth. A long honeyed finish with the peat in the near background. A lovely after dinner malt. Slainte!


A review for Ardbegs 2013 official special edition. Thankfully I was able to find one before they sold out.

Nose: Oily, tar and coal smoke notes, a saltiness carried on a sea breeze, maybe a hint of green olive, citrus peel oils (lemon and orange), ginger bread, a hind of nuttiness, becomes sweeter over time with slight hints of golden syrup.

Nose with Water: Becomes sharper, more ginger an malt notes, maybe a hint of cumin spice, slightly more citrus peel, buttery cooked vanilla.

Palate: Very oily, some fruit (Mellon, lemon zest, white grape peels), the peat is every gentle and soot like and the smoke is smooth, some hints of nuttiness (hassle and almonds), a nice saltiness, some dissertation spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and a hint of clove), a nice drying in the mouth sensation.

Palate with Water: very similar but lighter, becomes more creamy.

Finish: mouth begins to salivate after drying, a nice slight saltiness, soft smoke, hints of dessert spices, some brown burnt sugar.

I found this quite a soft Ardbeg in a way, while cask strength there wasn't any kind of overpowering notes or sensations. Extremely smooth for a cask strength Islay whisky.

Sounds great @Jason0142. I like everything I've tried so far from Islay and have almost finished an Ardbeg 10 so based on your notes I'll go in search of an Ardbog. Cheers

I would strongly recommend ardbegs uigeadail and corryvreckan bottlings both are awesome. Though if you find any of ardbegs yearly special bottlings make sure to get some because they sell out fast.


Ardbog...what can I say? Another great, unique product from the distillery of greatness. Give me a call if you ever run into a bad whisky from Ardbeg.

This limited edition Ardbeg was released in the Fèis Ìle festival 2013. It's a combo from bourbon and Manzanilla sherry casks. A vatting of 10 year old spirit. In celebration of Ardbog day.

And truly a 'Groundhog Day' experienced yet again with Ardbeg. Although their whiskies seem to stand out as unique and rich products. But it's a groundhog day because the experience is good every time I open a Ardbeg bottle.

Nose: Hints of herbal notes and honeyed maple syrup with intensive smoke rising from the back. Mildly peaty and salty.

Taste: A bit sweet, yet bitter. Complex flavors with nuts and sweet peat and wine. Earthly.

Finish: Peppery and dry. Wine clashing with sour citrus fruits. Good length like always with Ardbeg.

Balance: Good whisky indeed, not in the top 5 of Ardbegs I've tasted but yet another addition to a good 'track record' of Ardbeg distillery. Rich and steady.


Thanks to @Victor for sourcing this bottle for me. This bottle gave us an excuse to meet up, and I am very grateful.

I opened this bottle on Father's Day this year. This tasting was done on 9-9-2013

Nose: Very winey with notes of rubber tires. Also sweet and peaty but at a slightly lower tone then the Galileo. The sweetness is a much higher tone then the Galileo; a soubrette soprano tone – very light and agile sweetness. I am getting soft red fruits (raspberries and strawberries) but with a much stronger undercurrent of wood. Peat is pronounced with a bit more smoke as well. Very nice oaky woodiness balances out the intense sweetness very nicely. There is much more depth then the Galileo with all that wood. This is like a log cabin nose: cozy simple fire, wood furniture with stuffed animals on the wall. With water: still very intense. Not much change. More lemon

Taste: Higher sweetness then the Galileo, and now comes honey and peat. Still some distinct woodiness and peat below it. Very nice and salty.

Finish: Very sharp peat, salt, and iodine finally break through the candied sweetness. This is much more intense then the Galileo (or the L13 TEN for that matter). Tons of salt and peat fires! Smoke and anise . . . interesting. Peat wave followed by slow undulating sweetness. This is more of a honey coated peat monster. I would say this tastes like “gold” peat. Long fire in the mouth. This doesn’t destroy your mouth; it just leaves it smoldering like an autumn leaf fire.

Balance, Complexity: Not quite as complex on the nose as the Galileo (I hope time will change that a bit). Less balanced then the Galileo (by a nose). There is a sharpness here I like much better. This also has a more luxurious feel in the mouth and in the finish. Again, neither the Galileo nor the Ardbog are a “beast.” However, this has more of a fight – and I like that!

Aesthetic experience: A shade more amber then the Galileo: darker and more orangie. (looks the sexiest). I really like this bottle. I love the name, the label, the fact that it says ncf (and apparently no coloring) and 52.1%!!! love it. I even like the marketing better then the Galileo.

Conclusion: A much better special release then Galileo. Still, this isn't any better then most batches of Corry and Uigeadial: different . . . but the standard line is fantastic as is in my opinion.

@rigmorole. The word on the street is that Ardbeg Day is a sherry finished Ardbeg (8,9, and 12yo bourbon matured Ardbeg all blended and finished for 6 months in ex-sherry casks). To me that sounds like a different way at getting to the Uigeadail flavor profile. Obviously, different from Uigeadail, but similar in some flavor respects. I agree that neither of these special releases are up to the standard Ardbeg offering.

I tasted this recently. It was something of a disappointment. I rather prefer Ardbeg Day, which isn't talked about much in reviews. Personally, I think it's an unsung jewel of an Ardbeg.


There's always a sense of excitement for all Ardbeg fan around June of every year. Because that's the time when Ardbeg unveils its much anticipated release of that year. This year (2013) it's the Ardbeg Ardbog - so named after the peat bogs that provide that familiar Ardbeg flavor.

Let me tell you something. There is simply no other nose quite like this one. It is absolutely sublime. Not just because it's delicious but because it is constantly changing the longer you leave it in the glass.

There is first the familiar tar with the tiniest hint of burnt rubber sprinkled with a delicate puff of soot. The sweetness comes through next on the back of light chocolate-y citrus and a layering of delicate caramel. Don't go yet because there is fresh grapes mulched with tiny sprigs of coriander next. Leave it longer and it becomes even more sweet. More daring if you like. The chocolate becomes more pronounced. The honey becomes darker and takes on a maple syrup quality. I have yet to come across a nose that is as complex as this one.

The palate is sweet fortified wine mixed with a lemony limestone consistency. It is smoky, peaty with finely chopped herbs and the tiniest hint of dank cardboard. Not in a bad way, mind you. Mull it longer and lovely chocolate cake dusted with cinnamon powder comes out next.

The strong oily finish is full of cloves and star anise rounded off with coffee beans and wood shavings.

This is a lovely dram and needs your undivided attention.


I have been highly entertained by the reactions to Ardbeg Galileo since its release 1 September 2012, and have enjoyed waiting to review the new Ardbeg Ardbog for a nearly-full 3 months since its release June 1, 2013. Galileo had the audacity to be really winey, by Ardbeg standards. Some loved it, others were horrified by it. Some could not forgive it; at least one panel named it Finest Malt Whisky of the Year. Ardbog is, thankfully, a little less divisive,...by virtue of its being a little bit less winey.

Nose: strong intensity; usual Ardbeg peaty/smokey briney flavours; hint of wine. Very nice.

Taste: intense, pointed Ardbeg bite to set the stage...this alone makes Ardbog more acceptable to most than was Galileo. The usual Ardbeg flavours resume after the inital 'bite", in a very fulsome and flavourful way. Sweet, but, as is usually the case with Islay whiskies, not too sweet. The wine begins in a small way, at first, until the...

Finish: ...wine takes over. Nice wine, but the other flavours stay strong, so that no one is too frightened that the Ardbeg profile has been lost. What would happen to us all if malt lovers lost faith in Ardbeg? Ragnarok. You Norse members know what that is.

Balance: Very nice whisky. Others like it. So do I. Not particularly unusual, but solid. Quite solid.

I liked this one miles better than the Galileo. My first tasting with friends was quite uneventful. But when I sat down with it (in the silence of my tasting room) I discovered a whole bouquet of aromas layered on top of each other. Quite a heady experience.

The palate, I believe, got a couple of extra points for not being as bad as the Galileo. I was personally quite happy with this Ardbeg. You and I have a couple of points between us for this one. Looks like a unanimous winner.

Very eager to try this one. Thanks for the review.


Firstly I have to start this review with two thank you's. The first is to Ardbeg for making these annual releases. Whilst very hard to get hold of, they are exciting and worth trying if you get a chance. The second thank you is to 26goingon62 for allowing me to try his bottle of Ardbog. Having been unable to get my own he kindly let me sample his with a drop swap. Cheers mate!

The nose is big, Salty, peaty vegetation, plums, fudge, smokey bacon crisps and bonfires.

This is BIG. It tastes salty, almost like brine lots of Peat smoke, big punch, spicy aftertaste that coats the mouth. Finish is warm and peppery.

I love it, this is right up my street. It doesn't have the layered complexity of Uigeadial but as a one off it scores well.

@Victor a great review. I'm looking forward to picking this up. I'll refer to your notes after my first dram.


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 Ardbog was released in 2013 as a limited edition 10-year old. It was matured in ex-Bourbon American oak casks and ex- Manzanilla sherry butts.

The nose is smoky and fruity. Smoked ham and brine are followed by bananas, lemons and caramel. After a while there are hints of milk and notes of grass. The smoke goes very well together with the salty notes – well done!

The palate is full-bodied and both peppery and oily. There is distinct smoke that is matched by apples and lemons. After the initial peppery outburst a tannic dryness creeps in. Adding water makes the palate more acidic, with balsamic vinegar getting the upper hand.

The finish is long, peppery and pleasantly warming. Also, the same tannic dryness that was apparent on the palate is present here, too. Wow, this is very dry! Finally, smoky and earthy notes have the last say.

I tried Ardbog on Ardbeg Day and at first was not too impressed, but letting it breathe a bit has certainly helped. While I absolutely loved the nose and the palate, the finish was a tad too dry for my liking. Also, adding water does not do this much good. Overall, from my perspective this is not as sweet as Galileo and not as well balanced as Alligator, but just in between the two, so in other words it worked well enough for me.


Let me start off by saying that I am not the biggest Ardbeg fan. There are 2 of their bottlings that I am quite fond of: Beist and Alligator. The others I have had are not bad, just not repeat purchases for me. Not wanting to make the same costly mis-step I did with the Galileo, I only bought 1 bottle on release to try first. That is what I am finishing up tonight.

Initial aromas are salt and rancid meat. I must be a jackal then, because it is making me salivate. A bit, can I say, "Laphroaigy" too. Peat and smoke come later, along with some deeply buried butterscotch. Very mercurial nose. I could spend some time with this one. More sweets like nougats and vanillas come out with some time in the glass.

I hold the first sip, let it coat my mouth before swallowing. Not as drying or numbing as I would have expected. While there is some sweetness, it finishes dry and salty. A bitterness clings to the roof of my mouth. The numbness, while slow to arrive, begins to take hold. As my mouth numbs, the sweet notes begin to outshine the salinity. There is something nutty about this whisky too. Not nutty like crazy, nutty like almonds. Finishes dry, and could be longer...

That was a pretty good bottle for drinking, but a great one for nosing. Pricey? Yeah, but what the hell isn't these days? So, I picked up a few more to lay down. This is an Ardbeg I would like to revisit in the future. I'd say buy one and try it.


Well, it’s that Ardbeg time of year again. Whether you consider their annual releases cause for celebration or mere hype, they can’t be ignored. Nevertheless, I’ll give them credit for being the only distillery to make an honest attempt at creating something special on a regular basis.

Consider this a snapshot review. Comments are based on my third dram of Ardbog from a bottle I’ve had for two days, so any potential changes via oxidation haven’t had time to take effect. I like this expression, but it’s not on the level of Uigeadail or Corryvreckan – yet. Another few drams, another few months – who knows? If I notice any significant changes over time, I’ll add some thoughts in the comments section.

I strongly recommend this with at least a half teaspoon of water. Those who like the strong stuff neat will miss out on the sweet and creamy textures that emerge with a bit of added aqua.

Nose: Very dense, earthy, and smoky. There’s plenty of peat, to be sure, but not as much as expected from an Ardbeg christened in honor of the peat bogs. I expected a peat wallop along the lines of a cask-strength Laphroaig, but the salt, dirt, wood, rubber, and roasted ham demand equal time. To balance out the rough stuff, there’s a hint of vanilla that emerges after a five-minute wait. I can’t say that I’m in love with this nose, but it’s certainly complex, unique, and interesting.

Palate: Very salty and meaty upon arrival. The Manzanilla-cask influence soon emerges, as do some caramel and soft citrus notes. On the downside, there’s more than a trace of something like bitter plastic that won’t go away. These flavors remain in the decent-length finish, as the peat returns in full force.

In all, I like Ardbog, but I’m not crazy about it (yet, anyway). It’s not in the Oogie or Corry class, but it’s probably worth the price tag if you’re a fellow passenger on the Ardbeg bandwagon.

Thanks for the review! It's always nice to get great reviews on new releases at Connosr. I find the plastic part of the review disturbing but u don't seem to let it effect the score too much. Was it just a hint that u thought u should mention?

@Nolinske - It's more than a hint. Not that I'm an expert on the taste of plastic, but it was a way to describe a bitter and artificial taste that I get. It was the main factor that kept my score out of the 90s. Maybe things will even out with time. We'll see.


Ardbeg Day, launched in 2012 for the first time, is a new holiday for peatfreaks. Or is it? Because while Ardbeg Day is a great whisky, the Galileo (a mix of bourbon and marsala casks) was received with mixed emotions by the die-hard Arbeggians. The first reactions to this new Ardbog (a mix of 10 year old American white oak and manzanilla sherry casks) are a mixed bag as well. I guess there is nothing left but to try it ourselves, eh?

The nose is immediately oily and salty, like cured ham and olives. Peat, surely, but a lot less than I would have expected. Sweet ashes. Wet earth. Rocky coast. Far from fruity or sweet like the Galileo (which I put next to it for the occassion). The salt might be from the manzanilla of course, as this dry sherry from Andalusia (Spain) is known to be a bit salty. If you leave it for five minutes, it does show a sweet side.

It is surprisingly soft on the palate. Immediately very salty, like on the nose. Quite overpowering, blocking everything else out for a few moments. Only midpalate does the meaty and sweet character surface. Nutmeg and a touch of cinnamon. Nuts, too. Almonds to be precise. Caramelized apples and some toffee now. Nice development. Mildly drying towards the end. It is only at said end that the peat shines through with a grand smokiness. I find it rather complex.

The finish is long, smoky and dry.

Like the Galileo, it may be too far away from hardcore Ardbeg to many peatfreaks. Too much manzanilla influence, they may think. But for me, it works. I find it better than the Galileo, it easily outshines the Rollercoaster and Alligator, but it is still no match for the Day, Airigh Nam Beist, Supernova, let alone the Uigeadail or Corryvreckan.

Your video review is informative and a lot of fun. Although I'd probably give the 'bog a higher rating, I pretty much agree with your take on both Ardbog and the quality of the general releases, especially those that started as Committee releases (Uigeadail, Corry).

On the other hand, at least the newer Committee releases are being made accessible to a wider audience. I wonder if Ardbeg is not using Ardbeg Day in order to see what expressions might be worth adding to the line.

I also wonder what measures it would take to make something like Ardbog into a general release. They would need to mature x amount of whisky in manzanilla sherry casks for ten years without knowing whether this stuff will actually sell--etc.

How do you feel about the relatively young ages of these no age statement Ardbegs? Personally, I would like to see older casks blended in. I have heard that Uigeadale, for instance, had older casks blended in when it first came out, as opposed to now. Do you think that Ardbog is a relatively young whisky?


Nose: Sweet toffee layered upon peat , ash and salted toffee. A bit herbal too. Ash. Sweet peat and earthy notes in addition to smoked ham and salted cashew nuts. Sweet savoury yet medicinal and earthy. Brilliant.

Palate : quite oily and big. Stars with salted nuts and almonds , toffee. Big peat notes with a hot cinnamon edge. A hint of apples and tons if ash, with a touch of sea brine.

Finish : long semi sweet semi bitter finish. Dark chocolate. Ash. Coffee.

Victor's comments are interesting in the Ardbog discussion. I'd better pick up a Galileo before it disappears in a year or so. I must say, it's too bad that Ardbeg can't duplicate the brilliance of Beist. It really was a fantastic scotch. I've noticed other reviews of Ardbog mention words like soot and ash. You mentioned "ash" in the nose, palette and finish. Three times. Thanks for the review and reply, Galg.

How does this one compare to Beist?

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