Do you remember when you were young and there wasn’t a day of the year that really came close to the magical feeling of Christmas? That feeling you have when you lie awake in bed waiting for a fat man in a ridiculous suit to enter your house and leave presents under a plastic tree? That, my friends, is the stuff most children’s dreams are made of!

Then comes the day you learn the truth and you never really recapture that feeling again and life ticks on. Now I, personally, find that a little bit saddening.

That’s why I really understand the people who excitedly strike the days off their calendar counting down to that one day of the year they have been waiting for. For some it’s Mother’s Day. For others it’s St. Patrick’s Day but for some of the people who stumbled onto this website and are reading this, well, for a great number of them it might be Ardbeg Day. Or should I say Ardbog day?

Ardbog! The newest release from the audacious Ardbeg distillery. What’s it all about? Well, I was lucky enough to partake in an online tasting with Ardbeg Committee Chairman Mickey Heads last week and these are the key facts;

  • It is matured in a mixture of manzanilla sherry and American white oak casks.
  • It is the grand old age of ten years old.
  • It is cask strength at 52.1% ABV (yes the angels really took their liberties with this one).

I asked Mickey just how much manzanilla was used compared to American white oak and he didn’t specify but assured us that it was truly the heart of the whisky. It seems they’ve kept the tradition of not finishing the whisky but vatting different wholly matured casks together.

It’s all very well and good knowing what it’s about but how is it? Let’s just see…


52.1% ABV
Available June 1st

Nose: Right off the bat it’s reminding me of a great plate of Antipasti. There’s cured meat as well as good salty olives and  their distinctive brine and bread that’s been soaked in olive oil. Left in the glass a little bit it opens up to a sweet unbaked dough aroma.

Palate: A huge salty wave is what grabs me first and really defines the start of this whisky before changing into the sweet meats that were present on the nose. Strangely for an Ardbeg the smoke doesn’t really sneak through until the end and even then it’s evenly balanced and warming.

Overall: I really like it but I think it’s going to split people into three camps. The first who adore it. The second who say it isn’t as good as last years Galileo and the third who are tired of the marketing side of Ardbeg who will make their minds up before trying the whisky. Personally, I feel it’s time that Ardbeg added something to the core range that we could enjoy all year round. On the other hand though it is nice that Christmas only comes but once a year…



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