Ardbeg 'Ardcore' Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Islay, Scotland (750ml)
Whisky rules are subverted this year with the first Ardbeg distilled from a ground-breaking black malt barley. The liquid is impacted by this unique distilling innovation, whereas cask maturation was the key innovative element used in previous releases. Spicy, fiery, smoky tastes collide to create a defiant anti-flavor that Dr. Bill describes as “biting a spiky ball.” Black malt is one of the most roasted malts you could get, with kiln temperatures so high it needs to be tightly monitored. If it rises above 480°F, the malt can turn to charcoal and catch fire! So one can truly say it has been roasted to within an inch of its life.
Pale, translucent gold. Spicy, savory and ‘grippy’, with an explosion of savory marmite/yeast, burnt toast and charcoal and chicory (camp coffee) infused coffee grounds. The classic Ardbeg herbal/ fennel top note is present but very much in the background of all the swirling, smoky bonfire and molasses notes. An astonishing, spicy, fiery palate leads into an explosion of rich, powerful flavors – cocoa powder, rich dark chocolate, peanut brittle toffee, smoked lime and a suggestion of soot and bonfire embers. There is lots of licorice/aniseed, along with some altogether sweeter, malty/ biscuit flavors, and a long, lingering treacle toffee aftertaste.
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