New stuff from Ardbeg. Just in time for 2014 Feis Ile festival. Pretty convenient huh? This years special bottling is called Ardbog. It’s a 10 year old whisky. Part of it matured in ex-Bourbon barrels (first fill I presume) and another part matured in ex-Manzanilla Sherry Butts. Non-chill filtered and bottled at a cracking 51.2% abv.
Eschewing the standard format of whacking some normal whisky into another cask for finishing, the Manzanilla component has spent it’s full maturation life in those Sherry barrels. Presumably these have come from Dr Bill Lumsden’s (Head of Whisky Creation for Ardbeg and Glenmorangie) secret stash of weird and wonderful whisky experiments. It continues in the vein of last years Ardbeg Galileo, a component of which was fully matured in ex-Marsala casks.
Dr Bill states:
“The overall combination of effects in Ardbog truly conjures up the impression of ancient, primeval, salty peat bogs, but reassuringly this is combined with some classic, intense Ardbeg notes of leather, toffee and smoke. The Manzanilla maturation weaves salty flavours through the whisky which is then balanced with the maple syrup creaminess of the first fill ex-bourbon casks. As with all Ardbeg it is about getting the balance of many flavours right so others such as mocha coffee, cloves and even anchovies play their part.” (1)
If that sounds up your street then it’s released on the 1st June through the distillery itself and selected retail outlets. I have no idea how many bottles it is limited to but I do know that it is priced at a naughty £79.99, which for a 10 year old whisky is a fair whack of cash. Presumably people will pay owt for anything with the Ardbeg label.
Or maybe the thinking is that seeing as the last lot of Ardbeg releases ended up sold out and then re-sold on the internet for twice the amount (see Ardbeg Day and Galileo) the distillery might as well get a little more back to begin with. Or maybe it’s about the gradual repositioning of Ardbeg as a premium-niche brand (look at the price of some of the Glenmorangie releases these days). Or maybe the liquid inside is truly worth every penny (twice as good as the standard Arbeg 10 then). Who knows? But come June 1st we’ll have a clearer idea.