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Ah, yes! The old school Ardbegs from the great forgotten era of 2010. Back when peat monsters ruled and the world was getting it's first taste of NAS whiskies.
Second in line after the inaugural 2009 release of the same name this one ups the ante with a an extra 1.2% of alcohol.
What is an extra 1.2% you ask? Everything! Just ask my stinging taste buds!
Definitely a youngish whisky (7-9 years if you ask me) with everything cranked up to maximum. Peat levels of upwards of 100ppm (other Ardbegs measure around 50ppm) and a very high strength ABV of 60.1%
I remember having this when it first came out and being suitably blown away. I was young and naive, much like this spirit, and easily overwhelmed. Now it takes a touch more to impress. And I have to admit the spirit does it's best!
This review is from bottle code L10 070 16:22 6ML
Nose : Reminds me of the Still Young. That same youngish malt with classic Ardbeggian aromas. I know the peat here is cranked up but it still comes across as understated. Sharp lime. Lemon sorbet. Vanilla. Green apples and pears. Honey crust. Sugarcane. Let it breathe and it becomes more sooty. But with an underlying sweetness to it. Now with more herbs. Some cardamom. An essay in balance.
Palate : Lots of black and white peppers. Prickly green chilies. Lemon. Sugarcane. Dry honey. Slightly bitter oak. Melon. Mint leaves. Quite savory belying the nose. Fires up the tastebuds that's for sure! Made me salivate. But the spices dominate. Is the high strength trying to mask something? Seems like it.
Finish : Oily. Tobacco leaves. Limestone. The same spices. Touch of smoke.
This is a fine dram. Need to sit with it for a while as it evolves. As of this writing I have not had the 2009 version which I've heard is off-the-hook. I'd love to make a comparison.
Overall great nose and finish with the palate marginally behind.