The most anticipated whisky at last Monday’s tasting was certainly an Ardbeg distilled in 1972 and bottled in 2003 for the Italian importer Velier. Ardbegs from those years have an exceptional reputation: until 1977, the barley was malted directly in the distillery. According to whisky experts, this ensured the highest quality ever reached. The 246 bottles on the market are a rare treat: it’s almost impossible to find one of them, even at auction. And if you’ll be lucky enough to find one, be ready to spend 1.200 euro at least. This explains why the chances
to drink this whisky in the future are slim (and we thank Andrea and Giuseppe for opening one of their bottles…). The cask #2782 was selected by Stuart Thomson, distillery manager from 1997 to 2006 and cult figure whose life is full of incredible anecdotes…But we won’t write any of them, since we’re focused on this masterpiece… The color is a beautiful straw yellow.
N: a strong smokiness welcomes us. Thirty years of maturation made it gentler and perfectly integrated. So it stays in the background, leaving the stage to a huge range of aromas. First things first: the maritime character is clear, with dried seaweed and iodine notes. Alongside this, a light peat. And here it comes the pure loathing: almond pastry, vanilla (indeed, the “vanilla noumenon”: ur- vanilla!), fresh coconut, apple juice and cider, ripe kiwi fruit; meringue, orange
marmalade. It’s creamy (lemon curd, lemon tart) and herbaceous, although on and off: licorice, aniseed, tea leaves. If you close your eyes, you’ll enter in a confectionery. If you close them again, you’ll end up on the seashore; and in a blink of an eye, you sit in front of the fireplace… It’s a total experience. Water is not necessary: time and air keep this whisky constantly changing.
P: WOW! We’ve never tasted anything like this. Consistent with the nose, so we’ll not repeat the notes, but the range of sweet tastes (almond, vanilla, tropical fruit and orange marmalade) strikes the tongue in rapid fire, while the general feel on the palate is a breathtaking salty smokiness. This strength is maybe the only difference in comparison to the nose, that suggested a lighter peatiness, after 30 years in the cask…
It’s simply stunning. Nowadays, the chances of finding whiskies like this are reduced, but it’s worth it.
It’s a higher experience, something different from the
simple tasting. It’s educational, because it raises the bar much higher and it helps to trace back to “normality” our average drinks. Here everything is harmonious: complexity, balance, intensity… One and a hundred whiskies melted together. Our judgment is 95/100. here you can read Serge Valentin’s
Recommended soundtrack: Nina Simone – Sinnerman, an adequate masterpiece to match this whisky