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This gorgeous Ardbeg may not have taken on quite the same hue as some of its Darkness! siblings, but it has still spent 3 months in a tiny, specially rebuilt 50 litre first-fill Sherry cask (a fresh Pedro Ximénez cask in this case) picking up added complexity and richness. So don't let appearances deceive you - like Anakin Skywalker during Episode III, this one has very much turned to the dark side.
Nose: Sooty Ardbeg peat, hints of blackcurrant, cereals and golden oats. Green apple and lemon sorbet develop into red apple skin and Oat So Simple Heaps Of Fruit, cranberry too.
Palate: Warm and juicy melon with a few Sun-Maid raisins enjoyed by an open fire before you're into melted Cadbury's chocolate.
Finish: Embers and tropical fruits are followed by waves of chocolatey mocha goodness.
Overall: Sensational stuff with perfectly integrated Sherry influence adding a new dimension to an already first class whisky.
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At first we were a little disappointed that this wasn't bottled at cask strength, however our concerns melted away when we poured a glass. The nose is just sensational! You can tell this is an Ardbeg, beautifully lingering peat but with so many dark fruits rolling around. This oozes off the palate very well indeed, the PX finish was a fantastic choice as it keeps on giving - John Gordons
9th May 2014