Ardbeg Grooves Committee Release – 2018
Aged in ex-Bourbon casks and then finished in ex-red wine casks
Ardbeg – 1815 – the dark child of Islay ! Aficionados of the distillery go nuts most of the year waiting for the now traditional Ardbeg Day, held across the world beginning of June. This day sees the release of a special annual edition, both in “regular” edition and in “committee release” edition (higher abv and limited). But before the last 15 years of excellency, Ardbeg has seen awards, closings and management changes. But never have they seen a bad expression come to the market. Even non aficionados recognize the exceptional quality behind the whisky.
Colour : copper.
Nose : it smells like the big peat of Ardbeg without any finesse, as expected ! In the second wave comes some notes from the wine, such as tannins and walnuts.
Palate : still peat present, classic, very wet and greasy. We also have 70% dark chocolate, black grapes, and blood oranges. Everything evolves with notes of dried meat.
Finish : long and slow, well peated, with this characteristic whisky heat up so characteristic of 50% abv whiskies !
Comments : remaining totally objective, it is a good whisky. The fat and oily peat that is the signature of Ardbeg is well put forward, and there are some different notes due to the use of wine barrels.
My big problem with this whisky, and with most of the Ardbeg I’ve tasted, is that I do not detect enough difference between this annual and limited edition and the more common Ardbeg like a 10 or a Uigedail. And the last ones are cheaper. I imagine these Ardbegs are for fans what Highland Park is for me: gotta catch’em all 😎
Still, for 200CAD, this is a no-brainer !
*** Thank you to Bernard Loranger for the picture and Stephane Bedard for the sample (made through Quebec’s best Christmas sample exchange) ***