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Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Exclusive Release

Average score from 1 reviews and 1 ratings 86

Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Exclusive Release

Product details

  • Brand: Ardbeg
  • ABV: 51.7%
  • Bottled: 2017

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Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Exclusive Release

Back to back Ardbegs! That’s how we like to live our life. Especially if there’s not much to complain about. After the funny sounding An Oa it’s the equally ludicrous Kelpie.

Jackie, over at the visitors centre at Ardbeg, was kind enough to set aside a case of the Committee bottling before our trip to Islay on account of them disappearing off the shelves well before the Feis rolls around. We had a couple of wee sips while at the distillery but nothing formal.

Last night was the first time I actually sat down with it.

So what is it? To be honest it’s just another cool story that’s trying to conceal how young this whisky is. Really. Look, I appreciate all the endearing tales they come up with – who doesn’t – and more than that I appreciate each and everyone who works at the distillery. They are the absolute best.

And it’s because of that we all smile and nod our heads as they tell us tales about monsters covered in seaweed that emerge from the depths of the sea or listen attentively to brand ambassadors as they explain what virgin oak from the Black Sea is. I’m still not quite sure, to be honest.

But I don’t want the age of the whisky to detract from the fact that this is a perfectly acceptable tipple. Nothing much wrong. Nothing much spectacular either but then the industry has been letting us down so often that we’re rather happy when something is not absolutely horrendous.

Oh, the pain of living in a world where we crave adequacy.

“Stop being melodramatic” says my brain.

“Shut up” says my heart.


Bottled at 51.7% my sample is from a brand new bottle.

Nose: Rather sweet and citrus-y. Custard like sweetness. Lemon like citrus. Then the signature tones. Ash. Soot. Seaweed. Wait! Not seaweed. Kelp. Of course I smell kelp. Grapefruit. Eucalyptus (finding a lot of this lately). Let it sit and it becomes more grainy. Barley. Quite a sharp and piercing nose. Not in a bad way. In a young way, maybe. Some olive oil. Some balsamic vinegar. My wife makes a salad dressing like this. I like the salad dressing. I like this nose.

Palate: Good delivery if a little thin. Ash. Soot. Charred banana leaves. Spices. Lots of spices. And here are some more spices. Nutmeg. Clove. Cinnamon. There’s something a touch bitter here. None of the sweetness found on the nose. With water it turns more grainy. More chalky. More limestone. I wish it was sweeter.

Finish: Decent. Oily. Citrus. And that soot.

Overall Comments: It’s an Ardbeg. It’s a good Ardbeg. I wish it was a smashing Ardbeg. But that’s ok. I’ll settle for a perfectly adequate Ardbeg. The story is cute. Something about monsters. The casks are weird. Black Sea and all. I’m just happy it doesn’t suck.

@BlueNote Yes, to think I was 10 years late to the party...

To me, it feels like Ardbeg suffers from internal corporate expectations of maintaining the successful status quo.

Someone there cooked up their annual one-off strategy. Given that they've been doing it a few years now, that person might no longer be in charge of it, and a newer person's been promoted into that spot. In any case, it's a successful program that everyone there probably expects to continue—plus, they all know how to do it. Think of an annual project plan that includes flavor design, naming, packaging, distribution, silly videos, all the rest. It's easy(ish) and again expected that this annual program will continue on. For someone to pull the brake on it, even if they wanted to, would take a lot of balls. And why should they want to? Especially for a marketing person, being in charge of Ardbeg's annual one-offs is probably one of the best gigs in whisky.

So, as a guy with experience in corporate life, that's my speculation on why we keep seeing these releases instead of the "batch o' the day" releases that @Victor proposes. (I like @Victor's world better.)

Notes by Connosr

Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Exclusive Release

This page describes the Committee Exclusive Release of Ardbeg Kelpie bottled at 51.7% ABV, which was available to Ardbeg Committee members in March 2017.

Ardbeg Kelpie is the annual Ardbeg Day release for 2017 - named after a mythical sea monster which dwells in the Gulf of Corryvreckan off the island of Islay.

The official tasting notes promise a powerful, spicy nose full of smoked fish and seaweed notes along with a herbal edge. The palate, they say, has pepper, coffee, dark olives and smoky bacon. They go on to say that the finish is long with notes of clove, toffee and tar.

Of course what interests us is what the legion of reviewers on Connosr have to say about it. So if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle post your Ardbeg Kelpie tasting notes here. We look forward to your reviews!

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