Ardbeg Galileo 49% 1999
€ 340,00 (in Vat)
|Cask Type||Ex-Marsala and ex-Bourbon Casks|
|Condition||In Original Container|
Serge Valentin (84)
A rather large proportion of this wide bottling (around 50,000 bottles, it seems) was matured in ex-Marsala casks (30-40%). Marsala is a pretty old-fashioned Sicilian wine, much akin to sherry, that’s more used for cooking these days (in zabaione, tiramisu, various sauces...) It comes as red or white, dry or sweet. I don’t know which kind of Marsala was used for this Ardbeg. Colour: gold. Nose: less ‘Ardbeg’ than the G&M, rather rounder, less coastal for sure but also a little more medicinal. Rubber gloves (haha), then verbena and genepy (aniseed-like herbal notes), touches of tangerines, overripe apples and just a little walnut liqueur. Also ripe plums, quite unusual even in the most sherried old Ardbegs. There’s also quite some vanilla and whiffs of pencil shavings, probably not from some old ‘chateau’ Marsala cask. Anyway, a very nice nose for sure, it may just lack more Ardbegness if you’re into ‘pure’ styles. Mouth: starts a little weirdly, slightly disjointed, between the distillery’s usual sharp and zesty profile and a kind of both candied and dry fruitiness that stays apart (a kind of mixture of plums and bitter almonds). The oak’s also quite loud, with again notes of pencil shavings and heavily infused tea. Becomes more drying after that, kind of greenish (cardamom? Cumin?) Finish: medium long, lemony and green. Green pepper. Slightly sour aftertaste, not unpleasant, with a saltiness. Comments: I really enjoyed the nose but I’m not too fond of the palate. Having said that, it’s probably a fine effort but as far as I’m concerned, I prefer Ardbeg au naturel.
PS: maybe did they use Marsala casks because there’s ‘Mars’ in the name? ;-)
Gal Granov (88)
Nose: nice and smooth with sweet sugared and salted nuts, some fruit too: tangerine and a touch of pineapple. Sweet peat with leather tar and strawberry flavored Bamba (Israelis, you duped know what I’m talking about here). Some plums and date paste. Seaweed. Very nice sweet salty interplay here.
Palate: starts peaty and fruity with orchard fruit , peat and pepper as well as sweet marinated pork belly. Pepper, sweet cinnamon rolls! Quite creamy. There are quite some tannins and burnt sugar / caramel and salty sugared peanuts.
Finish: salty sweet bacon. Tar. Caramel and creamy achy smoky notes.
This is a tasty dram! Really liked it, especially for the sweet / salty / bamba like flavours, fruitiness, and balance. The peat and wine really work well, it’s not very peaty, and more balanced, with the nose a tad better than the palate, but still a worthy 12 yo Ardbeg which is different than the mainstream Ardbegs. Easy drinking, while preserving the Islay touch.