Ardbeg Twenty One 46% NV
|Bottled for||Ardbeg Committee|
|Distilled date||Not Specified|
|Cask Type||Ex-Bourbon Casks|
Once it is allowed to breathe (be patient, Ardbeggians), this is considerably more subtle than you might expect. Ok, the peatiness is direct and dominant, but its effect is tempered by the fact that it has this slightly marine aspect, (imagine a beach after a gale), cooking mussels and clams, a hint of hot railway sleepers, white pepper, waxed leather, then lanolin. It’s a style I like, as it shows how complexity still grows in the absence of heavy oak influence. Water brings out more smoke, then wormwood and rain-moistened moss.
Instant spicy attack – that white pepper again – then a burst of peppermint/Polo mint before it turns to eucalyptus. The peat fire blazes away, but there is sufficient vanilla softness to keep things under control. Touches of calamus, then kelp, samphire, bay leaf and peat.
Take it slow and you will be rewarded.
8.7/10 - Review by Dave Broom
Serge Valentin (91)
Yep that’s the new one. The packaging is talking about the late 1990s as the period when this was distilled, but the numbers do not quite add-up, do they? Rather early-to-mid 1990s, I wager - unless it's not a 21 - but it’s true that copywriters are rarely good at math. So rather distilled by Allied than by Glenmorangie Plc that did buy the distillery in 1997 and restart it in 1998 (Glenmo was later to be bought by LVMH, so Ardbeg is now partly owned by Diageo, which few people actually realise). Colour: white wine. Nose: definitely different. Basically, it’s got more peat smoke, and it’s got less tar/oil. So it’s rather fresher, less fattish and phenolic, and rather brighter. It’s also a little more coastal, with some seaweed and whiffs of beach bonfire, and perhaps a tad less ‘singular’ than its older sibling. Now, the medicinal notes do come through after a little while, and I do still find it typically ‘Ardbeg’ (no wonder). Almost forgot to say, I’m finding this nose beautiful. Even the tarry almonds do make it to our nostrils after around ten minutes. Mouth: we’re closer to the 1975, I have to say. Same kind of power and complexity, seashells, salt(iness), light tar, bitterish oil (fish oil?), iodine, plasticine… Perhaps does it have a little less citrus, just a little. The peat is perfect. Finish: long, and rather peppery this time. While the 1975 was fatter and tarrier, this is a little more maritime and, well, smoky. Comments: a great half-surprise. We’ve had some superb 19921-1994 Ardbegs in the past, and we’ve had some lousy ones as well. This new one certainly belongs to the former category. Me ve-ry hap-py
Words Of Whisky:
Lovely fruity with an interesting note of lemon yoghurt, but also peaches. There's some heather and it has a subtle waxy quality. Vanilla custard and cane sugar give it a sweeter side. The wood smoke is very soft.
More obvious smoke now, with a peppery arrival and an oily mouthfeel. Sweetness provided by vanilla and marzipan, and some mint tee.
Dry and smoky. Medium to long.
Look at my notes, then look at my rating. This is a whisky I wouldn't mind having on my shelf. Wouldn't mind at all.