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The Dark Cove is the long awaited and seriously hyped new Ardbeg Day 2016 release. We are talking the general release here, not the Committee Release at 55% with the pale label. It was sold through the Ardbeg Embassies on Saturday 28th May and – as is always the case with these types of releases – was sold out in a matter of hours. The label boldly states ‘dark sherry casks’ and ‘darkest Ardbeg ever’. I am not sure that that means. Oloroso? PX? Darkest ever? I have seen Ardbeg twice this dark. I hope the contents of the bottle is better than the PR bullshit.
Well, the nose is very pleasant. Vanilla and tar, soy sprouts (that’s a first!), walnuts and some seaweeds. Something that reminds me of band aids. Not overly medicinal, just a touch. Bicyle tire? I get some liquorice, ginger and nutmeg. If there is any fruit, it is lemon. The smoke development is rather limited, but quite nice. After some five minutes, I get something really sweet. Caramelized peel of blood oranges. Could that be the sherry?
It starts rather salty with loads of ashes and oak (ginger!), before it allows the sweetness to reveal itself. But the sweetness is not offered much room, for it turns very salty again immediately. Some smoked ham with a drop of lime juice and Seville oranges. The peat is unmistakable, but far from playing first fiddle. Loads of tannins, though.
In the long finish, it is mostly the spices that speak, but at the death I get a sudden eruption of plasticine and rubber.
All-in all, this Dark Cove is a good Ardbeg, but – like its predecessors of the last years – it does not match the classics like Uigeadail, Corryvreckan or the Beist. I would rather spend my money on them. I bought this for 99 EUR, but now easily reaches 150 to 200 EUR on secondary markets. Thanks to Anthony and Imanuel for helping me obtain this bottle.