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.
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.
Delightful things happen when delicious ingredients are shaken, muddled, thrown, stirred and strained together. Scotch whisky is notoriously difficult to use in cocktails, however there are a few classics that not only stand up to Scotch whisky but cry out for the complexity, richness and smoke of a classic Islay single malt like Ardbeg.
The crisp white wall of the distillery buildings and the signature name etched along the foreshore stands firm and concrete. I wandered down to the foreshore and skipped stones into the sea, smelt the freshness of the ocean and thought to myself, some things find a way to survive so long as they are loved.