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Worldwide, Islay-limpics were held on the so-called Ardbeg Day on 2nd June 2012. In Belgium, there were several festivities where you could taste the new release. To get a hold of a bottle, that was something else. But as Ardbeg Committee Member, I succeeded in securing a couple of bottles. Ardbeg Day is a combination of 8, 9 and 12 Year Old bourbon casks, married for 6 months on sherry casks.
The nose starts sharply on paraffin, tar and cow stable, but then opens up beautifully on burnt toffee and marshmallows over a campfire. A lot of earthy notes and flints. Spicy on dried ginger, vanilla and woodspice. Not much sherry influence on the nose.
The attack is very spicy (pepper and cinnamon and again dried ginger), waxy and hot. Toffee turns butterscotch, tar turns iodine. Charred wood. Slightly drying, now, with a wonderful hint of brown sugar and caramelized apple. The peat is anything but subtle, the sherry rears its head now. Great pinch of salt.
The finish is more than decent in length on dried fruits and coffee beans, with a bit of mint and dark chocolate on the deathbed.
Wonderfully drinkable Ardbeg, that rivals the Rollercoaster and Alligator. Unfortunately completely sold out at the moment. So let us look forward to the Ardbeg Galileo, the next release of this popular distillery.