Ardbeg 20 Years Old Chieftains Cask:808/811 46.5% 1996
€ 409,50 (incl. Vat)
Serge Valentin (90)
It’s quite a statement that Ian McLeod would still reduce their Ardbegs. Colour: white wine. Nose: total briny, medicinal, and slightly coal-tarry Ardbeg, typically ‘Ardbeg’, with no weird wood/wine influence whatsoever. Rather brine, seawater, tiger balm, embrocations, and all that. Clear, classy, and loud. Love it that they’ve kept it all ‘natural’. Mouth: it’s rather sweet, it’s certainly lemony, and believe me, it’s more medicinal that Laphroaig. It’s very salty too, very discretely gassy/tarry, and it’s got this bright fatness that screams ‘Ardbeg’. Some olives too. This wee baby reminds me of the first Airigh Nam Beist, if that rings a bell. Finish: long and rather smoky/almondy. Smoked almonds were often to be found in Ardbeg, in my humble experience. Very salty/tarry aftertaste, which is even more Ardbeg. Comments: there shouldn’t be much left from these pre-reopening batches that used to be made by the good Laphroaig people ‘to keep the equipment fit’. Excellent, if a little simpler then earlier vintages.