Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
50.8% ABV / RRP: £57.00
These days there is no shortage of whisky distilleries offering some sort of membership for their loyal fans and followers, as a means to keep them up to date with all their goings on via an email subscription, and in return offering opportunities to get hold of exclusive content, merchandise, event invitations and of course first dibs on new releases and limited-edition bottlings.
One of the first and certainly the most notable distillery to do so was the iconic Islay based Ardbeg, who for the last two decades has released a plethora of unique bottlings of different ages and cask types, exclusively for its Committee members. These have included experimental and historical brand significance bottlings, along with those launched to promote the brands annual day of celebration as part of the Islay Festival of Music and Malt (Féis Íle).
One of our recent favourites, which also just happens to be one of their younger releases is their 8 Year Old - For Discussion bottling, which we recently got reacquainted with. Originally launched in 2021, this Committee release invited members to openly discuss and compare it to the brands older 10 Year Old sibling, which just happens to be one of our all-time favourites. So how did it compare?
The Nose kicks off with a whirlwind of peat smoke, tar, creosote, pork crackling, brine and rain drenched paving stones. Followed by notes of rich oak, fennel, baked peaches, sherry steeped sultanas, tea steeped prunes, orange peel and a lemon cheesecake with a thick gingernut biscuit base. The nasal niceties then conclude with liquorice, salted caramel, mixed spice, white pepper and an almost rum-esque estery funkiness.
The Palate dishes up and delivers a cornucopia of coal smoke, dry oak, crispy burnt ends, caramalised fennel fronds, grilled jalapeño peppers and more of those sherry steeped sultanas. Followed by notes of dark chocolate covered coffee beans, lemon and honey Lockets lozenges, Fisherman's Friend sweets, Jamaican ginger cake, digestive biscuits, salted caramel and generous grounds of black pepper,
The Finish is long lasting and provides the perfect punchy highlights package of all the notes that have teased and tantalised the senses.
All in all, this is a little more youthful but no less yummy than their 10 Year Old, or any of the other Ardbeg's we've been fortunate enough to pour and explore over the years. It's a spirit that ages superbly and sublimely but it also offers up a fresher and more vibrant edge when bottled at pre double-digit years.
Ardbeg 8 Year Old - For Discussion (50.8% ABV) is now available to Ardbeg Committee Members for a RRP of £57.00. If you’re not already a member you can sign up now for free via ardbeg.com and grab a bottle while you can!