Tag Archives: Ardbeg

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)


New Ardbeg is coming: Ardbeg Twenty Something 23 Year Old

Update: Ardbeg Twenty Something will be released on 2nd November 2017 for Ardbeg Committee members. Price tag: £430.

Seems like Ardbeg is preparing a new release for the rich among us. A new label shows they intend to release another whisky from the stock that was distilled prior to the current owners regime (with Ardbeg 21 being the first one). The label states it was bottled in 2017 after being aged for 23 years so it’s a 1993/1994 spirit distilled when Ardbeg was part of Allied distillers.

The label hints at a series of releases as the title is Ardbeg Twenty Something so we could (and probably will) see other future releases that carry 2x age statements.

Will it be released in time for the next month Feis Ile? Stay tuned.

Ardbeg Dark Cove Committee Release Review

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%)

Ardbeg Dark Cove Committee ReleaseNose: 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. Continue reading

Ardbeg 21 Year Old – The Story of an Epic Marketing Faliure

The inevitable has happened and it seems finally that an aged Ardbeg release, at least according to the new label that popped up on the TTB site, will be on shelves later this year.

ardbeg 21 front

It’s been like forever since we saw a new age statement Ardbeg (especially if you exclude ardbog, aged 10yo but not it wasn’t mentioned on the label) and it makes me giddy with excitement and also fills me with dread from the expected price tag (which I bet will be around the £250-£300 mark).

If you put aside the excitement and the fact that most of us will not be able to afford a bottle and look deeper into this forthcoming release, a few interesting facts come up and one brow raising question should be ask. Continue reading

Whisky Review: Ardbeg Ardbog

Following a discussion on Facebook yesterday, I promised a review of Ardbeg Ardbog, the Ardbeg day release from 2013.

It’s a vatting of 10 yo Ardbeg spriti from Bourbon and manzanilla sherry casks and I think they got the balance here just right.

‎13000 bottles were produced and even now, 2.5 years after the release, there are still bottles available for purchase. I’m kinda surprised as I think it’s a good whisky!

Ardbeg Ardbog (52.1%, £125/£150/€139)

ardbeg ardbogNose: It’s not an aggressive nose with subtle earthy dry peat followed closely by sweet dry wine. in terms of smoke, it’s on the low side of the scale but it’s of the burnt down coals variant. Nice nose balancing nicely peat and sweet. Continue reading

Speculations post: What’s going on with Ardbeg Dark Cove?

Remember Ardbeg Dark Cove? A possible new Ardbeg whisky that we discovered last month thanks to the required filling in the American TTB database. There were a lot of speculations about it – is it a new core expression? a replacement for Uigeadail?

Since then the water calmed down and the Ardbeg fans went hibernating but guess what? There’s a new filling for Dark Cove at the TTB database with an updated label!

dark cove work in progress oct 2015 Continue reading

Whisky Review – Ardbeg Perpetuum Distillery Release

Feis Ile 2015 was a blast. Or so I was told by friends who attended the Festival. There were many events, lots of music, food and of course lots of whisky. As usual, there were special Festival bottlings by all Islay distilleries and although I wasn’t around, I was lucky enough to secure myself a few samples of them via friends.

This Feis Ile, marked the 200th birthday celebration by Laphroaig and Ardbeg and both distilleries released a special bottling to celebrate the event. Ardbeg bestowed upon the world Ardbeg Perpetuum – a blend of old and young whisky, matured in both bourbon and sherry casks. How special is it? Is it a worthy release for the 200th birthday?

Ardbeg Perpetuum Distillery Release (49.2%, £85)

ardbeg perpetuumNose: Hmm, this one has a young and hot nose but thankfully no new make notes. There’s abundant of cereals, honey and vanilla, leading to a very fresh and oily nose. Of course there’s sweet peat and some ashes but it’s far away from the ashy nose of the Ardbeg 10 and much more delicate and rounded. After a few minutes in the glass it’s getting sweeter with fruits, stewed fruits, hint of lemon curd and sugared cereals. Continue reading