Ardbeg, distillery of the year 2020
Ardbeg whisky was born on the small Scottish island of Islay. The small isolated Scottish island of Islay (pronounced "eye-lah") is an ancient land. A wild and untamed place, where Celtic monks found refuge from raids by the Norsemens and where the first distillers smuggled their illicit "aquavitae" into the rugged, rocky cove of Ardbeg. Abundant soft water, fertile soil and acres of precious peat makes this island a place of pilgrimage for the faithful single malt whisky.
Ardbeg has struck again as the Islay distillery won the award for Distillery of the Year at the 2020 International Whisky Competition for the third consecutive year. Furthermore, the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy-owned brand won first, second, and third in the Best Single Malt Scotch and Best Single Malt Scotch NAS (No Age Statement) categories.
Aged in American oak and Oloroso sherry casks, this sublime 19 year old whisky is the embodiment of an aged Ardbeg. Part of a much sought-after and collectible series of Ardbegs, 19 Years Old Batch 1 is a permanent new expression, a victim of its own success.
On the nose, waves of sweet wood smoke and tangy crème fraîche gently overlay bold notes of salty fennel, celery root and roasted tea leaves. A spray of water releases a burst of fresh spray, followed by irresistible aromas of leather, eucalyptus oil and pine.
The waves turn into torrents as the true nature of this drama emerges. An intensely salty mouthfeel is transformed like the tides into soothing medicinal notes. Aniseed fragrances pass over the palate, before rich caramels, birch tar and peat smoke crush savagely. Finally, flavour and smoke collide in a lively, intense and satisfyingly long finish.
ardbeg is a must for whisky and even distilled spirits in general. From the simple whisky lover to the most discerning connoisseur, tasting an ardbeg whisky is a journey, a return to the present time and a pure pleasure.