Ardbeg Blaaack Committee Release

Ardbeg Blaaack header article

Twenty years. Bloody hell. Remarkably, two decades have passed since the completion of Ardbeg’s resurrection, with the founding of their members club; the Ardbeg Committee. Since 2012 it’s been tradition for Ardbeg bring out a limited edition bottling for Ardbeg Day, the distillery’s open day which takes place on the final Saturday of Feis Ile. This year, to honour the committee, or Ardbeg’s “flock”, they’ve created a whisky finished in pinot noir casks from New Zealand, a country where the number of sheep outnumber the locals by a ratio of seven to one.

They’ve named this release ‘Blaaack’ and the press release contained about as many sheep-related puns as I could stomach. Speaking of the release, distillery manager Mickey Heads said: “In every corner, of every far-flung place, you’ll find an Ardbeg Committee member. For 20 years they’ve been proudly demonstrating their black-sheep behaviour. Ardbeg Blaaack is the best possible way to pay tribute to our tearaway fans who, like us, are shorn to be wild! Among the whitewashed walls of Islay stands a black sheep – Ardbeg. This claim will be truer than ever on Ardbeg Day, as the Distillery’s iconic seawall is painted black for the occasion. ‘Baaars’ across the world will be stocked, with visitors getting the chance to taste special black cocktails, take part in a whole host of sheepish games and even sign up to have their head sheared by a ‘baaarber’.”

Ardbeg Blaaack Committee Release
Ardbeg Day 2020
Pinot Noir Cask Finish
50.7% ABV
£94 RRP

Nose: Big sooty smoke, toasted walnuts, some caramelised onion, Branston Pickle, and a touch of smoky bacon. Quite dirty in all truth. Then some cherry loaf, manuka honey, a big clove note, and BBQ embers. Intense and enticing.

Palate: Big hit of thick peat smoke, with glazed ribs, roasted nuts, prunes, dates, and sticky raisins. Then charred limes, smoked oysters, a seafood BBQ, and chewy oak.

Finish: Lingering smoke, some liquorice, chewy dark fruits, dark chocolate, and grippy oak.

Overall: Earthy, dirty, intense and one of the better, if not the best, Ardbeg Day release from the last few years. The wine casks have given the inherently smoky-but-delicate spirit (there’s a rather unique purifier on the spirit still which gives the Ardbeg spirit a certain lightness) a chewy, rich, and savoury edge, and it works very, very well. This is the Committee Release mind you, so it’ll be interesting to see how it differs fares once brought down to 46% for the general release. Either way, a stellar whisky at 50.7%.





  1. Hallo,
    Kan ik 2 flessen Ardbeg Blaaack kopen.
    Mvg Peter,

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