Arran Sherry Cask – The Bodega

ABV: 55,8 %
Origin: Islands
Type: Single malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 5/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is dark and sweet. At first there’s a thick layer of dark, ripe fruits. There are raisins, overripe plums and dried apricots. It’s very aromatic and there are bakning spices as well as a mild menthol sitting on top of the main flavours. There’s a sweet side to it with brown sugar and vanilla, but the sweetness is mostly coming from the fruits. The background brings a brighter, tropical fruitiness and some apple juice. There’s also a hint of sulfur in the back. This is a sherry bomb and it’s quite fantastic on the nose.

Mouth: It starts out very sweet and dark. Immediatly there’s a black coffee bitterness with the dark fruits close behind. It’s high ABV spicy and it’s quite rich and oily. After a few seconds a dark chocolate note builds up. The tropical fruitiness is not present at this point, but the powerful sherry notes are surpressing most of the other flavours. It’s somewhat astringent and the oakiness is peeking through every once in a while.

Finish: The dark fruits, dark chocolate and black coffee notes start to move towards the edges as soon as the finish starts. This leaves room for vanilla, oak and dried assorted tropical fruits to appear in the center. The sweetness is still sugary with a hint of vanilla. The menthol cloud returns and stays all the way through the finish. The oakiness gains momentum after a few seconds and it’s a dry, slightly nutty oak. This is a fantastic whisky within the sherry bomb category and it’s really well made. Even though it lacks an age statement it doesn’t present itself as young and undermatured.

Additional information
This is part of The Arran Malt’s core range. It’s aged in ex-sherry hogsheads and is presented in natural cask strength. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Auchentoshan Dark Oak

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Lowlands
Type: Single malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 3/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is dark fruits and off-brand cola. At first there are assorted dark fruits on top of a light and floral background with notes of violets and heather. The cola note floats around somewhere in the middle. After some time in the glass there’s a honey sweetness slowly building up around the edges of the glass. The dark fruits also increase in intensity and there are notes of ripe red grapes within. This is a nice nose although it feels young and a bit thin.

Mouth: It starts out with honey, liquorice and cola up front and a lemon peel sour bitterness in the back. It’s very mild and light. There’s not much of a body and there’s a cardboard note coming from the back. The dark fruits are now almost hidden. There’s a hint of gooseberries somewhere within. After a while the bitter notes create a black coffee and walnut background to discover for those with patience.

Finish: The finish starts with a mild whiff of the floral notes and just a tiny appearance of the sweetness and the dark fruits. It then directly moves towards coffee and oak once again. The walnuts are still there but they decrease in intensity as the coffee notes move forward. It’s a mild bitterness. In the late finish the floral notes return and creates a nice overlay. This is not a great whisky by any means, it’s somewhat thin and young, but there are nice notes floating around in there.

Additional information
The Dark Oak expression was released in 2019 as a travel retail exclusive. It’s aged in a mix of ex-Pedro Jimenez sherry casks, ex-Oloroso sherry casks and ex-bourbon barrels.

Springbank 13 YO – Green

ABV: 46 %
Origin:
Campbeltown
Type:
Single malt
Bottles in collection:
0
Emptied bottles:
0
Impression:
4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is dirty, dark fruits. At first there’s a top layer of fresh red berries and dried dark fruits. A gritty layer of soil, motoroil and sulfur fills up the background and gives the immidiate feel of depth and complexity. As it opens up there are sweeter notes appearing somewhere in between and sort of ties everything together. There’s a hint of vanilla and a rubber note in there as well. It creates a funky experience overall with a lot to discover. This is a great nose.

Mouth: It starts out with a quick sweetness before the background notes comes rushing forward. The funkiness is really demanding attention and the oily, rubbery, dirty notes are up front. The fruitiness is now residing at the edges and it’s more like a mixed bag of dried fruits with a dash of lemon. Raisins and overripe plums are definitely in there as well as brighter fruits. There is a peppermint element and a thin vanilla sweetness floating around. A thin bitter note can be found in the back and this really involves all the different sensations.

Finish: The finish starts out somewhat uneventful before any flavours start to return. First out is the sweetness and the dried fruits on the edges. The peppermint comes in shortly after and then the complex dirty center come along as well. It’s much more toned down and tame and doesn’t deliver what the nose and mouth promises. That leaves room for the oakiness though and it’s a very pleasant oak with a savory note and hazelnuts as well. There’s a very thin chalk layer on it which isn’t all that great but it disappears down the road. The sherry notes come back as a top layer in the late finish. This is a great, well made whisky but the finish lets it down a tiny bit.

Additional information
This Springbank was released in 2015. It’s made from organic barley and aged in ex-sherry casks for the whole aging period. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

The Arran Malt 18 YO

ABV: 46 %
Origin: Islands
Type: Single malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 5/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet and lemon fresh. There’s a very nice and thick layer of vanilla, caramel, honey and sweet liquorice and it’s intertwined with lemons and oranges. A hint of fresh oak comes through from the back together with a sprinkle of sea salt. There’s a white chocolate note appearing after some time in the glass. This is very rich and full bodied.

Mouth: A squeeze of lemon passes by before a black pepper spicyness takes over. It’s not as sweet as on the nose but it’s still very rich. The lemon note comes back together with malt, sweet liquorice and some caramel. It comes off as a bit dry and dusty. The lemon note is now leaning more towards the zest with a bitter tang to it. The oranges are gone. In the background a hint of the oak is coming through together with white chocolate.

Finish: At first, black pepper and lemon is creating a cloud that takes up the entire space. It takes a second or two before the other flavours make themselves known. There are vanilla, honey and caramel notes as well as an oakiness building up. It’s a very nice fresh oakiness with a hint of hazelnuts and a hint of chalk. In the late finish it finally shows some age with a row of dusty old books. This is an extremely well made and very tasty whisky.

Additional information
This is part of The Arran Malt’s core range and it’s aged in both american ex-bourbon barrels and european ex-sherry casks. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg Scorch Committee Release

ABV: 51,7 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is oaky and peaty. At first there’s a heavy impact from a hot burning woodfire with a sweet honey and vanilla baseline. Underneath a mineral rich peatiness struggles to keep up and it takes some time in the glass before the whole becomes balanced. There’s iodine and coastal notes floating around as well. With time the vanilla becomes more noticable. There’s black liquorice and a tiny hint of fresh fruits coming through from the back and with time the liquorice note becomes dominant. This is a great, heavily peated nose with a nice balance between the peat and oak.

Mouth: At first it’s spicy and mineral rich with top notes of fresh oak and honey. The iodine is very pronounced and it takes a few seconds before it’s pushed back by the sweetness, charred oak and peat. The whole is vanilla and liquorice heavy. In the center there’s a nice maltiness peeking through as well. The charred oak becomes quite sooty over time. There’s also a fresh fruitiness, leaning towards grilled pineapple, in the background.

Finish: It starts out with a joint surge of wood spices and ABV spicyness. The burning woodfire is covering most of the palate at this point and the iodine and coastal notes have taken a few steps back. The liquorice is now also residing in the back. After a few seconds there’s a smoky woodfire exterior and a fresh oak center with a tropical fruitiness within. The late finish becomes a bit too oaky. This is a great whisky which does a nice job of balancing extreme flavours against each other. Time in the glass before drinking is recommended.

Additional information
This was released for Ardbeg Day 2021. It’s aged for an undisclosed amount of time in heavily charred ex-bourbon barrels. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg Perpetuum

ABV: 47.4 %
Origin:
Islay
Type:
Single malt
Bottles in collection:
1
Emptied bottles:
0
Impression:
5/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet and peaty. A heavy layer of vanilla and an ashes from a recently burnt out campfire is dominating the first impression. The vanilla has an unscented lotion vibe to it, which isn’t a bad thing. There’s a saltiness and a medicinal note sitting somewhere in the middle. The sherry cask influence is very subtle but there is a small scent of raspberries coming through. This is very pleasant.

Mouth: The arrival is very medicinal with a touch of black pepper and a honey sweetness. After that it takes a while for the peat to create an ashy outer layer and, when it settles, a quite fruity inside. Raspberries are still dominating but there are some darker fruit notes detectable. It’s got an oily texture. Lemon, vanilla and just a hint of the oakiness come through after a few seconds without pushing any of the other flavours aside.

Finish: A burst of black pepper passes by before it returns to the ashy peat that are mixed with a nice vanilla driven oakiness and some chocolate. The lemon note still sits in the back and it’s still medicinal. The finish is complex and there are many flavours following along far down the road. The flavours somehow switch halfway down the road and the darker fruits is now creating a layer surrounding the oak, the peat and a sweet honey note. This is a beast in formal wear. Pure excellence.

Additional information
The Perpetuum was released 2015 as a 200-year celebration bottling. This is the 2020 re-release. It’s a mix of both young and very old whisky, matured in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg Blaaack Committee Release

ABV: 50.7 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet peat and red berries. The initial impact is quite medicinal and rowdy. After a few seconds a sweet, rounded baseline emerges with notes of hot burning wood together with unscented lotion and vanilla cream. On top there are iodine and salty coastal notes. The fruitiness starts to come through as an outer layer and slowly takes over. It’s overripe black grapes and plums. There’s also a cooling mint effect up front. This is an interesting nose.

Mouth: At first the vanilla sweetness and the warm peatiness swells up. It’s still hot burning wood and now there’s a hay note coming through. It’s quite mild and the red wine influence has a juicy vibe to it with fresh red and black berries. There are still coastal notes and a small touch of iodine, but those are pushed back into the background. It’s slightly astringent and the oakiness shines through in the background.

Finish: A minty cloud passes by before the juicy berries and the warm peatiness return. The medicinal and coastal notes still reside in the background and the finish mirrors the mouth very well. The whole thing feels slightly subdued. The oak is fashionably late, but when it arrives it’s a very tasty nutty oakiness with hazelnuts a hint of dust on top. The overripe grapes and plums return as a thin note following along through the entire finish. This is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Additional information
The Blaack is a 2020 limited release exclusive to the Ardbeg committee members. It’s aged in ex-Pinot Noir wine casks from New Zealand. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg Kildalton 1980

ABV: 57.6 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 5/5

Tasting notes
Sample added to queue. Tasting notes pending.

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Additional information
This was released in 2004 and was limited to 1300 bottles. It’s made from both unpeated and lightly peated barley. Cask type(s) isn’t disclosed. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg Arrrrrrrdbeg!

ABV: 51.8 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is green fruits and peat. At first there’s a green pear and apple fruitiness with a spicy, mineral heavy peatiness. When it settles a layer of minty candy cane gets mixed into the fruitiness. There’s vanilla and, when given time, an unscented lotion note as well. The oakiness is present as an outside layer together with the peat which create a warm burnt woodfire note. The rye is also in there, but it’s not especially ”bready”. This is a great nose which feels lively and there’s a lot of things to discover.

Mouth: It starts out sweet and spicy with a big dose of peppermint spreading out. Underneath the peat still comes through as mineral heavy with an aura of burnt wood. The rye sits a bit back on the palate and gives the whole thing a quite unique character in combination with the peatiness. There’s a bitterness coming through from the back as well as some coastal notes. The fruitiness is now almost completely gone.

Finish: The transition starts with small increase of the spicyness before it turns to a mix of oak, peat and rye bread. The sweetness has subsided and it’s more focused on the bitter side which has a hazelnut vibe to it when combined with the oakiness. The longer the finish last, the more of the rye bread and the oak comes through. The fruitiness peeks through as well. The peatiness moves out to an outer layer and stays a good while down the late finish. It becomes somewhat astingent in the end. This is a great whisky with a very interesting profile.

Additional information
The Arrrrrrrdbeg! is a limited committee release celebrating Mickey Heads retirement. It’s aged for an undisclosed amount of time in ex-rye casks. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg Still Young

ABV: 56.2 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Sample added to queue. Tasting notes pending.

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Additional information
This whisky was distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2006. It’s the second release in a series that lead up to the Renaissance 10 YO. It’s aged in ex-bourbon barrels. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseur’s Choice – Ardbeg 1995

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Sample added to queue. Tasting notes pending.

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Additional information
This whisky was distilled in 1995 and bottled in 2005 making it 10 YO. It’s aged in refill ex-sherry casks.

Ardbeg An Oa

ABV: 46.6 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is peat, fruits and creamy vanilla. At first there’s a really big dollop of vanilla cream and a core of oakiness. just outside there’s a ring of fresh red berries. It’s mainly raspberries but there’s also a darker side to it. Surrounding everything is a sweet and warm peatiness with a hot burning fire and a hint of fresh hay. In the background there’s a creamy soft note, like unscented lotion. This is a beautifully rich and welcoming nose.

Mouth: It starts out with sweet vanilla cream and a fresh hay peatiness. It’s quite mild at first and it gives room for the complexity to build up. After a few seconds the fruitiness arrives. It’s a mix of fresh raspberries, overripe black grapes and a hint of lemon. The peatiness increases over time and gently fills the mouth from the outside layer working inwards. A hint of salt is added along the way. The oakiness is hiding in the background and it’s sending out a bitter note and some spicyness.

Finish: The finish starts out with a cloud of peatiness together with a sligthly bitter and spicy oakiness. The fruitiness is pushed back and the unscented lotion returns. This gives it a soft and creamy contradiction to the dry oakiness. After a few seconds the oak is very much the main attraction, accompanied by the peat. It remains a dry, spicy and bitter oakiness with a speck of dust on it. The finish is not as nice as promised by the nose and mouth, but this is still a very nice dram.

Additional information
An Oa is made from whiskies matured in Pedro Ximenez ex-sherry casks, new charred american oak barrels and american ex-bourbon barrels. The varieties are put together in a french oak marrying vat before being bottled. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg 19 YO – Traigh Bhan (Batch 2)

ABV: 46.2 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 5/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is heavy peat and fresh red berries. At first there’s a heavy peatiness with minerals, leather and campfire smoke surrounding around a small core of ripe red berries. There’s also vanilla, honey and unscented lotion sitting slightly behind and to the sides. With time the peatiness and fruits retreat and the sweetness comes forward. In the background there are coastal notes with ocean air and a hint of seaweed. This is a fantastic and rich nose with a lot of details to explore.

Mouth: It starts out with the peatiness, mainly minerals and leather, together with a fresher batch of berries and a hint of lemon in the back. It takes a few seconds for a pepper note to arrive but when it does it creates a nice spicy side to the otherwise well-rounded character. The lotion, vanilla and honey notes are still in there but they have taken a step back into the background. It still carries its roudy, coastal heritage with iodine and brine floating around even though the age has mellowed everything out.

Finish: A big hit of the minerality and the brine are soon followed by black prepper, honey and the rest of the peatiness. The red berry fruitiness is sort of wedged in between the peat and the sweetness. When most of the flavours settle the oakiness start to come through and it’s accompanied by campfire smoke, the minerals and an ashy back note. The finish is long and rewarding. This is an absolutely fantastic whisky which balances the age and the rowdy heritage extremely well.

Additional information
The Traigh Bhan is released in small batches. It’s aged in a mix of ex-bourbon barrels and ex-Oloroso sherry casks. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour. The batch number is TB/02-18.09.00/20.JT.

Ardbeg Almost There

ABV: 54.1 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 5/5

Tasting notes
Sample added to queue. Tasting notes pending.

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Additional information
This whisky was distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2007. It’s the third release in a series that lead up to the Renaissance 10 YO. It’s aged in ex-bourbon barrels. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg Supernova 2009 Stellar Release

ABV: 58,9 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 3/5

Tasting notes
Sample added to queue. Tasting notes pending.

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Additional information
This is an Ardbeg with a PPM level over 100. It’s aged for an undisclosed amount of time in ex-bourbon barrels. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg 10 YO

ABV: 46 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 1
Impression: 5/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet and peaty. At first a warm, sweet, and ”wet” peatiness, like smoke from a campfire when water is thrown on it to put it out. There’s honey, vanilla, a touch of seaweed, brine and an iodine note. There’s a feint hint of green fruits and lemon far away in the back.

Mouth: A very sweet approach which turns into a big burst of savory smoke. The honey note lies up front and it’s carried by a black pepper spicyness, some seasalt and a touch of bitterness.

Finish: Menthol, honey, lemon and bittersweet smoke. It’s still savory and the wet burned wood carries through. The peat is very much the main player, but the honey note isn’t far behind. The oak is slightly bitter. The finish is a never-ending story with a tar note appearing when the wet oak subsides.

Additional information
This whisky was launched in the year 2000 and is the entry level in Ardbegs core range. It’s aged in both first fill and refill american ex-bourbon oak barrels. The barley has 55 ppm. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg 21 YO Committee Release 2001

ABV: 56.3 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 5/5

Tasting notes
This is fruity and peaty. It’s a very complex whisky with a lot of different sensations and flavours. It’s a lot fruitier than later releases from the distillery. It was tasted in a big Ardbeg blind test which means there are no detailed tasting notes taken. It won against 17 other Ardbeg releases.

Additional information
This Ardbeg was released in 2001 and was limited to 2500 bottles. It’s aged in ex-bourbon barrels and it’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg 5 YO – Wee Beastie

ABV: 47,4 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 3/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is peaty and medicinal. At first there are notes of seaweed, minerals and smoke from a hot burning campfire. In the background there’s a sweetness with vanilla and unscented hand lotion attached to it. It’s young and quite rowdy even though there’s a very thin but dampering layer of red berries resting on top of everything else. It still leans very heavy towards the distillate and not on the cask influence. With time in the glass the minerals and a hint of iodine moves forward. This is an unsettled dram, but it’s still a welcoming and interesting nose.

Mouth: It starts out quite spicy and medicinal. It takes a second or two for the sweetness to come through and when it does, it never really becomes more than a background noise. It’s salty and the seaweed is still in there, but it’s not as coastal as the nose suggest. The campfire smoke is now creating an outer layer surrounding everything. After a second or two there is a slight ripe and dark fruitiness floating around in the back together with the vanilla sweetness and a hint of dark chocolate.

Finish: It starts out by presenting all the background flavours without anything up front. It’s a combined layer of vanilla and unscented lotion, ripe dark fruits, dark chocolate and burnt oak. After a few second the main flavours start to build up. It produces the same flavours once again with seaweed, minerals, iodine and seasalt. There is a metallic note coming through in the late finish which gives away the young age. This is not a balanced and well behaved whisky. It’s young and rowdy both in smell and taste, but it still produces a nice experience.

Additional information
Wee Beastie was added to the Ardbeg core range in 2020. It’s aged in a mix of ex-bourbon barrels and ex-Oloroso sherry butts. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Ardbeg Uigeadail

ABV: 54.1 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 5/5

Tasting notes
Nose: Sweet savory smokiness from a recently put out campfire mixed with green fruits, vanilla, honey, plums, raisins and a quite tangy overtone. There’s a note that reminds me of being on an early morning sea shore walk.

Mouth: Sweet and quite spicy, turns to brine, ashy smoke flavours, vanilla and ripe red fruits. The sherry casks are dominant and gives plums, raisins and a hint of liquorice.

Finish: The smokiness takes a turn to the ashy side after swallowing. It’s a mouth watering finish with a sweet yet slightly bitter oakiness as the main flavour. Walnuts and dark chocolate can be detected after a few seconds. The finish is long and very satisfying. Very well balanced.

Additional information
Uigeadail is the lake from where Ardbeg takes the water to produce whisky. This expression is a vat between whisky aged in american ex-bourbon barrels and ex-sherry butts. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

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