It’s the annual Ardbeg Day celebration, where all fans of peaty bog monsters come out to get their hands on deliciously rare and unusual Islay treats from Ardbeg.
As night fell, the smoke and mist rose up in a late autumn haze and we ducked under the cover of our own darkened den, a safe haven underground called the Jefferson.
The beauty of this vertical tasting is to explore the Ardbeg Day whisky as part of the Ardbeg story.
Half the pleasure is in seeking the treasure. It’s not that this whisky is the best whisky ever made. But in nosing the glass and enjoying the spirit, we are participating in the golden age of whisky experimentation and re-definition.
Reminds me of an orange and almond cake I make. Caramelised vanilla sugar crust with the sharpness of citrus developing. Now I taste elements of Persian orange water. Slowly more baked apple emerges with cinnamon and nutmeg. Big, tobacco leaf and old leather starts to emerge out the back where the peat overtakes any leftover smoke. Now it’s starting to feel like a true Ardbeggian expression.
The bottle alone is something to gaze at. Be warned, it doesn’t pour that well and takes a practiced hand. You’ll get plenty of practice though, because for a young whisky it exudes character beyond its years. Not surprisingly, because this is a Talisker and I believe whisky is indelibly marked by the people who make it and the place comes into being from.