Scotland > Islay > Scotch and Other Whiskies > Single Malt > Ardbeg
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"An Oa" is named for Islay's wild Mull of Oa on the south-west coast. The prominent headland offers the Kildalton coast a bit of shelter from the tempestuous North Atlantic. The area was in centuries past the scene of much illicit distilling. The whisky is the first new core release in the Ardbeg range for close to a decade. Crafted to offer a more approachable take on Ardbeg whisky, the spirit was matured in a mix of PX Sherry, Virgin Oak and Ex-Bourbon casks. The mix was then rested in the distillery's new Gathering Vat'.
Andrew's Tasting Note
Nose: Old English Butterscotch ice cream, dark milk chocolate, fresh picked oranges, briny maritime tones and a frim base of earthy smoke; coffee liqueur, brandy soaked cherries and melon liqueur.
Palate: round, malty and smoky; the Old English Butterscotch ice cream hits first with cream soda and honeycomb; the chewy malt slowly rolls in with more dark milk chocolate and some soft tarry peat; more coffee liqueur and brandy soaked cherries; there is some bright orange and melon here, but they are thoroughly buried.
Finish: maritime, malty and creamy; cream, fruit, butterscotch and tarry peat; medium in length and light but layered in weight.
Comment: this malt slides nicely in between the 10 year and Uigeadail; a touch of sherry but not too much; an excellent complement to the rest of the range.
Evan's Tasting Note
Nose: Peanut shells, apple cider, yeasty bread, maple bacon, brown sugar, Ovaltine, lavender, potpourri, milk chocolate, olive oil, sponge toffee, sea salt and hay in a barn.
Palate: Creamy. Soft smoke and ash, sweet chilli sauce, sea water, honeydew, black pepper, Juicy Fruit gum, nutmeg, Ovaltine again.
Finish: Smooth, smoky and soft. Not as big as Corryvrecken and Uigeadeal which shouldn't come as a surprise with the lower alcohol content.
Comment: A slightly lighter and sweeter side to Ardbeg.
Producer Tasting Note
Nose: Rounded and smoky - like burning Applewood - with creamy toffee, aniseed, treacle and dates. A curious suggestion of juicy fruits, such as peach and banana. With a drop of water, reminders of Ardbeg’s classic fragrance – lime, pine resin, fennel, saddle soap and tar. A gentle waxiness, like fragrant candle wax, and hints of smoked herbs. An Oa gives a final subtle reminder of the sea with briny notes and seaweed but always accompanied with creaminess.
Palate: A smooth, creamy texture leads into a huge syrupy sweetness, flavours of milk chocolate, treacle toffee, aniseed, orange and smoky tea leaves. Gentle, sweet spices (nutmeg & cinnamon), some cigar smoke, and a very unusual flavour of grilled artichokes. Wood is always present in the spirit, gently nutty and reminiscent of a carpenter’s workshop. A long, sweet finish, with floral overtones, mint toffee and some gentle malty biscuit notes.
Finish: A smooth, creamy texture leads into a huge syrupy sweetness, flavours of milk chocolate, treacle toffee, aniseed, orange and smoky tea leaves. Gentle, sweet spices (nutmeg & cinnamon), some cigar smoke, and a very unusual flavour of grilled artichokes. Wood is always present in the spirit, gently nutty and reminiscent of a carpenter’s workshop. A long, sweet finish, with floral overtones, mint toffee and some gentle malty biscuit notes.
Producer Description: "A welcome new addition to the Ultimate range. Ardbeg An Oa is singularly rounded, due in no small part to time spent in our newly established bespoke oak Gathering Vat where whiskies from several cask types - including; sweet Pedro Ximenez; spicy virgin charred oak; and intense ex-bourbon casks, amongst others - familiarise themselves with each other. The result is a dram with smoky power, mellowed by a delectable, smooth sweetness. Hallmark Ardbeg peat, dark chocolate and aniseed are wrapped in smooth, silky butterscotch, black pepper and clove, before rising to an intense crescendo of flavour."
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