Ardbeg 1991 25 Year Old ‘Shieldmaiden Malin’ (The Duchess) Review

Today’s the Last day of Feis Ile 2017 and it’s Ardbeg day, also celebrated in Ardbeg embassies all around in the world. I’ve already reviewed the committee edition of this year Festival bottling, the Kelpie, so let’s go and close it out with a bang, reviewing an indie Ardbeg – a 1991 25 year old Ardbeg, bottled by my friend Nils an Rijn, who’s behind the  Dutch shop Best of Wines under the The Duchess brand.

A bit of history: Ardbeg were closed since early 1981 until 1989 and then was working a mere two months a year, operated by Laphroaig personnel until the last closure at 1996. That means it’s quite rare to see a bottling from this period as we’re used to post 96 or 70s bottles.

Ardbeg 1991 25 Year Old ‘Shieldmaiden Malin’ (The Duchess) (49.8%, €794,99)

Nose: Farmy with hay, minerals, sherry vinegar almost balsamic, old earthy wet peat, dried red fruit develops slowly, green tobacco leaves and cigar leaves, smoked fishes, soot and white pepper. Very smooth

Palate: Tar, peat, Lapsang Souchong tea, white pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon, earthy peat is crispier here (comparing to the nose) and is well defined, salt and a touch of farm greenery.

Finish: Medium length, lingering wet peat, pepper and Lapsang Souchong tea, salty and mineraly.

Thoughts: Oh what a big start to The Duchess line up! Not a big peat monster after all those years and the saltiness and greenery makes it a tad different (and still good) Ardbeg. It’s an expensive whisky, yeah I know. This is what old and rare stuff costs nowadays (although my main gripe is with the lesser stuff that costs a leg and an arm.

(Official sample provided by The Best of Wines)

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