Sweet and smokey aromas of vanilla, pastries and cream. In the mouth it is nutty and salty with campfire smoke, honeysuckle and buttered toast. The finish is spicy and vibrant with a rustic mouthfeel.
Preface: I am by no means a whisky expert but not a complete beginner either.
Although it is peated, the peat aspect is much tamer than in it is something like Laphroiag or even Ardbeg's own 10 year old.
A portion of what you'll taste in this bottle comes from Ardbeg aged in sherry casks. The end result is a bottle that contains peaty characteristics with an equal proportion of sherried sweetness. It's very well balanced, with a long finish.
Others have raved about this particular product, but I found it lacking for the hype given. The pete flavor overpowers everything (taste/smell) that could make this a much better item.
That said, and if you can get past the heavy-handed flavor, it goes down smooth enough to not need water to cut it. And, at the price, if you think about mixing it with something, look elsewhere. It's good enough to stand on its own.
*First time drinker of single malt scotch-wiskey, so take the review as you will. My normal drink of choice is Crown Royal.
The Ardbeg distillery was founded in 1815. For most of its history, Ardbeg's whisky was produced for use in blends, rather than as a single malt. Production was halted in 1981, but resumed on a limited basis in 1989 and continued at a low level through late 1996, during the period when Ardbeg was owned by Hiram Walker. The distillery was bought and reopened in 1997 by Glenmorangie plc (owned by the French company LVMH) with production resuming on June 25, 1997 and full production resuming in 1998. The distillery was reopened by Ed Dodson in 1997 and handed over to Stuart Thomson, who managed it from 1997 to 2006. Michael "Mickey" Heads, an Islay native and former manager at Jura who had worked at Ardbeg years earlier, took over on March 12, 2007.