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Has the hype died down a bit? Good, then we can get to work. In front of me is the Perpetuum (which means something like ‘for all eternity’) that you could only get at the distillery during Feis Isle and will now cost you between 200 and 500 EUR… I crawl back into my seat, after having dropped to the floor in surprise. Next to it is the ‘regular’ Perpetuum which appeared not much later and initially also created a stampede, but at the end of the end was quite easily obtainable for the regular price of around 100 EUR. That is a good thing. I put them head to head, because the regular release has a ABV that is almost 2% less than the festival release. To make reading easier, I will refer to the bottles as AP and APDR (for Distillery Release, of course). The color is the same on both.
The nose of the AP is plesantly sooty and typically Ardbeg. Sweet on honey and apples, with candied lime peel. Quite some ashes as was to be expected. Surprisingly soft. The APDR needs a little more time and is surprisingly different. Sweeter with less of the typical sootiness and even a sour edge from citrus. It also has some yellow flowers, which I did not see coming. So far, the score is 1-0 for the AP.
On the palate, the AP is quite brutish. While I found the nose elegant enough, the palate immediately gets a kick of peat and wood and some spices. Think ginger and black pepper. Dried seaweed, which I quite like. Midpalate it becomes pretty salty. The APDR, with the slightly higher ABV, is almost as elegant on the palate as it was on the nose. Both are, however, the same type of vatting of both bourbon and sherry casks and different vintages (the PR boys claim it contains both old and young Ardbeg). It is less spicy and offers a lot more citrusy notes. Grapefruit on steroids. On the palate, the APDR wins hands down: 1-1. A tie so far.
The finish on the AP is quite long, spicy and evolves from mildly sweet to brackish. The finish of the APDR is brackish as well, but offers some plasticine at the death. I am afraid this means that, despite the general opinion so far, I prefer the AP in the finish. 2-1 is the final verdict.
This certainly is good Ardbeg, but I have had better, like the Ardbog or even the Auriverdes. Having said that, I still much prefer spending my money on the great Uigeadail.
86/100 vs 85/100