Sunday, 3 June 2007

Will the independent's humour save the single malt?

We all know Ardbeg produces high quality whisky since ages. And their marketing is more than performant too... A shortage on the popular 10 years old whisky? No problem! Let's have the lovers to wait with younger versions, and let's create a must have for the collectors.
Which collector could miss a bottle in the series announcing the new 10 years old version with great pomp?

...Very Young,
Still Young,
Almost There...

In the meanwhile, prices just increase merrily. And the accession of the luxury world leader in the managing spheres of the distillery will not improve the situation. In the world of luxury, the most expensive it is, the better it is. I know from some indiscretions at the marketing level of LVMH that the group would like to sell the 10 years old Ardbeg for 70 euros. This is a very important inflation.

So I just cannot keep from commending warmly the excellent sense of humour of the Belgian "The Nectar" and the Dutch Bresser & Timmer when they market at a more than reasonable price a cask strength version (62.6%!!) of a young Ardbeg, called Still Very Young Islay Single Malt... Well done! this is what I consider as being great art.
The selection was done for Daily Dram and The Whisky Fair.
The next question is to know if the content of the bottle is as good as it's marketing...

Here are my first impressions:

  • Quite an "Ardbeg nose"... Nice oily peat, smoke, mice farm smells, warmth of hay mixed with cattle smells, iodine, a touch of citrus fruit hidden behind all this; the whole is nicely balanced and announces an excellent whisky.
  • In the palate, it does not try to dissimulate its power. Whaou. 62% of alcohol cannot be discrete in the mouth of a whisky drinker. However, if your palate is used to cask strengths, it could survive without to much irreversible damage... Nice complexity, with nutty notes (hazelnut) merged with fruity hints, impressions of coffee, moka. Adding some water is quite a good idea for this dram and also for your papilla's. Water addition reveals fully the smoke notes and the complexity in the mouth is enhanced. This whisky gets suddenly very smooth and the nutty notes develop on fine wood by slow increase of the bitterness impression.
  • The finish is long and the nice memory of the warm cowshed near the sea prolongs the pleasure for long minutes.

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