Arbeg fans have long been waiting for an older expression from the distillery. But until now all bottlings from recent years were on the young side, and most didn’t carry any age statement at all. It has become rather obvious that the distillery has not put aside a significant number of casks to eventually use for bottlings of oder whisky. But earlier this year the label grahpics for a 21 year old showed up on the internet. This means that the spirit must have been distilled in the period when the distillery still was on life support with only minimal production before reopening in 1997.
This bottling will be available from 21st September to Ardbeg Committee members. Despite the high price of €370 there is little doubt that all bottles will be sold out quickly. I was fortunate enough to receive a review sample from Moët Hennessy. Here are my impressions:
Ardbeg Twenty One
My Tasting Notes:
Nose: Peat smoke, banana, hints of pineapple, vanilla, liquorice, cloves, hints of nutmeg and white pepper.
Palate: Still rather strong peat, banana, green apples, lime, green tea, hints of cloves and white pepper.
Finish: Very long, smoky and slightly fruity.
Overall: Not very surprisingly this is an excellent whisky. The peat ist still surprisingly strong, but it is not a peat monster by any means. This is a very delicate whisky, contemplative even. There is a lot of complexity without any bold flavours. And furthermore this plain bourbon cask whisky is a very welcome break from all those wood experiments that have been domintating the Ardbeg release policy in recent years. The only drawback: It is bloody expensive, but this could be expected.