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Ardbeg Dark Cove

Unlit Inlet

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@markjedi1Review by @markjedi1

4th Jun 2016


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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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.

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Alexsweden commented

I set out to buy the committee release for about 80€ but didn't get one. Now this one is available for about 100€. Doesn't seem like that good a buy.. Plus the marketing BS makes me reluctant to spend my money on it. ''a heart of dark sherry casks blah blah blah''

3 years ago 0

Taco commented

I really liked Perpetuum, which I liken to Ardbeg Ten v2.0, but have to agree that Corryvrecken is better and cheaper. I've only missed out on "Day" of the annual releases, and though I enjoyed them, I still think Corry is better. I might pick up some bottles of "Dark Cove" when they show up, but won't be upset to miss out. I am disturbed to find the last two bottles of Ten I bought were fairly bland. As a result I've been buying bottles of the excellent Laphroaig 15 (2015) and Cairdeas 2015.

3 years ago 0

Ol_Jas commented

"I hope the contents of the bottle is better than the PR bullshit."


Have you tried the 55% version? Much better?

3 years ago 0

markjedi1 commented

I have not tried the 55% version, no. Would love a sample if anyone can spare it (will pay, of course).

3 years ago 0

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