Ardbeg is an Islay distillery known for producing some of the most desired smoky styled malts in the world. The distillery was built in 1815 and exchanged hands a few times before being mothballed in 1981. Ardbeg was revived in 1997 by Glenmorangie which was subsequently taken over by luxury conglomerate Moet Hennessy. Under current ownership of Moet Hennessy, Ardbeg’s brand marketing has become innovative, fresh and brilliant. More Ardbeg history can be found in this post.
Each year Ardbeg has a habit of releasing a special bottling on “Ardbeg Day.” This year was no different as Ardbeg unveiled Ardbog to the whisky world on June 1st. Ardbog is a combination of 60% ex-bourbon cask and 40% Manzanilla sherry butts. After aging for roughly ten years the spirit is bottled at a potent 52.1% ABV and will surely fly off the shelves due to Ardbeg’s amazing branding. Ardbog is said to originate from the bottom of a peat bog. What that exactly means is up to anyone’s guess, but it’s likely 99% marketing inspired. What really matters is how it tastes and Ardbeg rarely disappoints their loyal fans.
Nose: light smoke, oak, brine, sharp scent of red fruits, hint of vanilla, rubber
Mouth: salty, spicy, sour, ashy, tart lemons, smoke at the back of mouth
Finish: peppery, lemon peel, coffee beans, long and lingering
Verdict: I like to call this type of malt a “long-term relationship dram” because it gets better the more time you spend with it. Each time I drink it I discover a different aspect of flavor. While it is a peaty whisky, Ardbog comes across quite light when tasting along side Ardbeg’s Uigeadail and Corryvrecken. The Manzanilla sherry cask is readily apparent on the nose and the palate. The finish is nice with a bit of spice up front and long lasting coffee notes. This dram seems to get better and better each time I try it. Is it worth the $100+ price tag? Well if you’re an Ardbeg fan like me, then it’s a resounding yes.
Where to Buy
Astor Wines & Spirits – 399 Lafayette St New York, NY 10003
Park Avenue Liquor Shop – 292 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017