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Ardbeg Blasda

Intriguing Session Whisky

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@jdcookReview by @jdcook

15th Aug 2010


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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A friend of mine recently bought a bottle of this and was kind enough to let me have a dram.

The wording around the traps on this bottle has been a little mixed. Even those who quite like it tend to say things like it isn't very Ardbeg-'like.' THe blurb you see repeated everywhere that this is an experiment with lower peating levels, being peated with a phenol level of a 'mere' 8 ppm, as opposed to the usual Ardbeg levels of 24.

The nose for me was very savoury. The peat was still quite evident, but unlike other Ardbeg's I've tried, there were only the barest hints of smoke and iodine. Oak undertones and old leather smells were also present. The only sweet smell I got was just the barest hint of pears, and even then it took 10-12 sniffs to get it. I was really surprised by this, as most of the reviews I've read of the Blasda had the nose as very light and sweet, but for my friend and I, it was very savoury.

The taste was was almost two-faced. Initially very light and refreshing, with pears, caramel and a nuttiness coming through. As the whisky warmed in my mouth through a couple of chews the peat started to make its way through and just as you swallow the 'second-face' comes through as a wave of warm peat, old leather and oak, virtually burying everything else.

The finish is a little short, but warm, and is a carry on of the wave of peat, leather and oak, with a hint of sour cream, and that fruity pear note is still there when I look for it.

A session whisky is a whisky you drink when you want to have a drinking session, not just enjoy the drink, but get a fair way through a bottle in a session. Most 'sessionable' whiskies have short finishes (like this one), but as a result they feel like they are somehow missing something. This one is different, it kept me interested through the whole process and I reckon I could sit down and get through half a bottle with no issues, and not feel like I was missing anything.

Other writers are correct though, this isn't very Ardbeg-'like.' Most Ardbeg's are masterpieces, and have to be savoured for several minutes per sip, and a glass can last you hours without any issues. This isn't like that at all - it's a proper drinking dram, and on those days when one or two glasses aren't enough to ease your burdens, this whisky could be the answer.

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AboutChoice commented

@jdcook, a very informative review, along with tangential insights. Yup, if you sat down and got through half a bottle, you may not feel anything at all ... burdens effectively eased :-)

Would like to try Blasda, but probably not buy.

10 years ago 0

jdcook commented

@AboutChoice - I agree with you on the Blasda. I drink whisky because I enjoy the many sensations and the craft that goes into each bottling. If you want a value for money drinking whisky, there are plenty of blends that fill the niche nearly as well. Certainly worth a try, but I'm not sure I'd buy a bottle myself...

10 years ago 0

pr0mille commented

I had mixed feelings about this one after reading about it. But, as more then often, was pleasantly suprised! May not be a hardcore dram but I love it. @AboutChoise: I bought a 3cl sample at Masters of Malt to trie

10 years ago 0

jdcook commented

YEah, it's definitely wasn't as bad as I feared it might be given some of the reviews, but it is a bit overpriced for serious session of drinking dram.

10 years ago 0

jcs82 commented

I love the concept of a "session whisky". Looks like something like this could be an appropriate occasion-marking dram? And I've been looking for something that's classy but drinkable. Thanks.

10 years ago 0

jdcook commented

@jcs82 - It's a concept I heard applied to beer years ago, and it seemed appropriate. But yes, it certainly is an easy drinking easily shared dram. However there are a lot of good blends out there that do as well but don't have the same single-malt cost!

10 years ago 0

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