"A classic release from Islay that showcases how to integrate sherry with heavy oily smoke"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
This almost unpronounceable classic Ardbeg expression, apparently it is something like oog-a-dal, is named after the lake nearby the distillery. I guess almost everyday distillery should nowadays have at least one release named after a lake, shore or bay, most of us never heard of. Maybe the marketing people spend too much time picnicking outside? Anyway, this has matured both on bourbon and sherry casks. Some say the quality has been affected by a shortened maturation time of the spirit that goes into this enabled by the lack of an age statement. I guess we have long gone past age statements on affordable cask strength Ardbeg. Nevertheless it is still a much-loved bottling among Islay fans.
Starts surprisingly fresh and fruit. Then follows almond oil, gasoline, fresh wood, ashes, incense and gas. The whole smells very oil with the aforementioned almond oil, but also lemon oil. The sherry influence comes up slightly later with fig jam and all kinds of dried fruits. The smoky and oily side intertwines with the dried fruits. Maybe it smells slightly too much of fresh oak, but there is absolutely no bitterness from the sherry (which for me can be vert off-putting in a sherried whisky).
The palate consists of a mix of smoked fruits, roasted almonds, plum jan and a rich oily side. Again lots of almond oils. The smoke is there, however, it is with respect to the Ardbegian style very nicely balanced. I would not say it is overly complex, but it is direct and the notes are focussed and fit together. The aftertaste is fairly long with an extra bit of sweetness added to the ashy oily smoke and fruity dryness.
This has been a solid Ardbeg release that is much loved by many fans of Islay’s peated whiskies. It might have gone towards the edge of how much young whisky can be added before it starts to really lose its quality. However, althoughI think we are not there yet, we will keep our eyes on future releases.
A sample was purchased from !
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •