In 2015 Ardbeg Distillery celebrated its 200th Anniversary with number of events and special releases.
The ultimate commemorative bottling was Ardbeg 1815, a marriage of first fill bourbon and first fill sherry casks. The bourbon barrels were filled in 1974, sherry casks the following year, with spirit distilled from barley malted on site (Ardbeg’s floor maltings ceased operation in 1977). After being aged for 33 years the whiskies were vatted together and spent 8 years in sealed glass containers for preservation. Only 400 bottles of cask strength whisky (50,1% abv) were released for sale. (Producer’s tasting notes).
Nose: mellow and seductive, but firm and powerful at the same time, most definitely announcing its presence. A beautiful fragrance of sweet smoke to start with interwoven with a heady pungent aroma reminiscent of rum and raisin ice cream. Then comes an array straight from the bakery – croissants, brioche and freshly baked bread. Befitting a whisky of this vintage, rich notes of dark chocolate truffle are encountered with black cherry and aniseed.
Palate: a texture, which is creamy, smooth and ever so-slightly mouthwatering carries into a breathtaking spectrum of flavors: jasmine and lapsang souchong teas, abundant sweet toffee notes, a cornucopia of spices (cinnamon, pepper, star anise and mixed spice) and juicy, ripe Seville oranges. The smoke is almost unbelievably well-integrated, persisting throughout the sumptuous taste experience, yet never overpowering the myriad and complex flavors.
Finish: long, with an abundance of raisins and dates; a finish as sweet as the memories it leaves behind…