So many words were written on Ardbeg and the annual Arbeg day releases. Seems like not all is OK in Ardbeg-land as there are dubious marketing failures, continued barrage of NAS releases when it’s mostly relatively young spirit in it and last years’ disappointing release of Perpetuum which for me was the low point of a too quiet 200th anniversary celebrations.
This year release is Ardeg Dark Cove and from the beginning we see marketing failure: Darkest Ardbeg ever? Seriously? All those 70’s releases aren’t counted in the list?
I felt that Ardbeg invincibility got cracked last year and hoped that Dark Cove (putting the brand marketing failure aside) will set them on the right track. Let’s check if it works or not as I review the Committee release with the higher ABV than the more general release.
Ardbeg Dark Cove Committee Release (55%)
Nose: Classic Ardbeg peat and smoke, but not so ashy at first although this get rectified over time along with meat in sweet sauce and soot. Sweetness originating from the sherry casks – sweet red fruits, more fresh fruit than dried and with jammy edge. I quite like it as it’s not overpowering and there’s a good balance here. With water: sweeter with sherry notes taking the front seat.
Palate: Peat smoke, ashes, a lot of meat in sweet and salty sauce, fruitiness in the background, very drying. smoke reappears in dry smoke form. With water: lighter with more sour berries, less dry.
Finish: Long finish, pepper and wood spices, lingering dry smoke and beef jerky. With water: spicer, less dry smoke and a bit more sweet sherry
Thoughts: This is a much improved product over the Perpetuum and with water it’s pretty lovely, making me think that the general release at 46.5% may feel better out of the bottle. However, the question that now pops up in my mind: Is it Uigeadail reborn? Why should I pick this over Uigeadail (novelty aside)?