We finally test the new born from Ardbeg core range, already welcomed as the standard-bearer of age statements payback. After many years of NAS, someone has the guts to write “5 years” on a label: nice and clear. This little beast (Wee Beastie, in gaelic) is matured in a mix of ex-Bourbon and ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks and it’s bottled at 47.4%. We’re expecting a peat monster (usually, the younger the peatier…), with bold flavors from active woods. Let’s see…
N: lively, pleasant and full. A powerful lemon note, both fresh/acidic and burnt, like a grilled lemon. Candied cedar. A balsamic side of camphor and pine needles, even moss. Ironically, it smells less peaty than expected, but incredibly maritime: anchovies, fish, sea breeze. Vanilla. The PX influence gives an intense licorice sweetness.
P: alcohol is totally absent, it’s a remarkably drinkable malt. The peatiness is relatively gentle, even if it’s now more tarry, with notes of tarmac indeed. It’s really sweet, croissant, vanilla and a load of licorice. The green side is still here, rather balsamic. Sweet citrus fruits and brown sugar.
F: milk chocolate, persistent acrid smoke and black pepper.
We’ve been saying this for years and years: limited Ardbeg day’s releases are nice, but they’re usually young and overpriced. Why don’t you guys from Ardbeg produce a young whisky and sell it at a reasonable price? They did it! And we can imagine them, brainstorming: “It must be peaty, sweet and drinkable, Never mind if it won’t be the most elegant Ardbeg ever…”. It’s an “engineered” whisky, artfully designed. But it is very well designed. A little beast, surely not a monster. 85/100.
Recommended soundtrack: Kid Vicious – Palazzine.