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This was the final dram for our Ardbeg Day 2014 celebration. Crazy pairing with what my cousin, the chef, called a Duck Egg Chocolate Eclipse (soft boiled duck egg coated in chocolate plated in caramel and cream nest-insanity).
Color: medium gold
Nose: Immediately interesting to me as a softer take on Ardbeg. Sweet and tart at once, chocolate orange, and smoked almonds right out front. With a little time grilled green peppers and some bacon. Something earthy that might be what I have seen described as coffee. The peat is not the first thing to hit but that sweet incense definitely rises with some time.
Palate: soft and a little thin in terms of body, almost effervescent, salt, vanilla, peat and citrus there. The complexity of the nose was not quite delivered here.
Finish: long with pepper and peat throughout, but still soft throughout.
Overall: this one got my attention for the change up in approach. It is a gentler dram. I would place it somewhere between Blasda and the standard 10 year old in terms of "impact." Not quite the gentle thunder of the Airigh Nam Beist, but it seemed to be reaching in that direction-which probably gets some extra love from me. Value is a good question-got this for $80 US which works for those of us with unreasonable tendencies toward this distillery. I think I will get a few stashed as I like to try and have a nice "spread" of Ardbegs for our family Ardbeg tastings. That said, I do long for a special release with the jaw dropping qualities of the "Oogie" or the "Beast."
Food note: The sweet dessert with the lighter whisky worked okay.