Nose: Quite lemony against the obvious peat on the nose, and very, very sweet. It’s soooooo creamy and buttery; we get lemon curd, then peach, particularly peach skins, then a little bit of red currant and some latte coffee with just a sprinkling of ginger, black pepper and mace. On the back-end of the nose, there’s a decent hit of Barbecued goodness that put us in mind of a really, really good rack of ribs (can you guess where the inspiration for last week’s feast came from?).
Palate: Big creamy sweetness, the expected hit of vanilla comes later. We get peaches in syrup, maple syrup, and then onto citrus, with zest, pith and fruit. Blood oranges, and grapefruit late palate. This has a huge maltiness, with ginger, fivespice and Crêpes Suzette.
Finish: Confectioners’ sugar, lemon meringue pie and vanilla cream. Subtle smoke integrates very well.
Overall: Wowser. Not at all what we were expecting from a cask that’s received such aggressive treatment. This is by far and away the sweetest, most approachable and most drinkable Ardbeg we’ve had in years. At the same time though, the sweetness hides a BBQ-y, Chocolatey complexity the likes of which we’ve not experienced for quite a while.