Ardbeg Drum Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)

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Ardbeg Drum Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)

Islay, SCOTLAND
$179.99 Bottle
  • ABV 46%

Last year’s Ardbeg Day release was Ardbeg Grooves, a whisky matured in re-toasted red wine casks which were intensely charred to create heavy grooves in the surface of the wood. The Committee Release was so popular that unexpectedly high demand caused Ardbeg’s website to crash. The general retail release also sold out apace. (At the time of writing, it’s on the secondary market at around AU $200).

This year’s Ardbeg Day celebrations take a Caribbean twist with the release of the distillery's first rum-finished expression, a no-age-statement single malt matured in ex-Bourbon casks and then finished in ex-rum casks from South America. According to Brendan McCarron, Head of Maturing Whisky Stocks for The Glenmorangie Company (which makes Ardbeg), it was a good ten years in the making from the initial idea. Bottled non chill filtered at 46%, not surprisingly, it’s described as having notes of "pine resin, wood smoke, ripe banana and pineapple". Distillery Manager Mickey Heads, agrees, adding that drinkers can expect to find “a multitude of complex flavours across the palate – including lavender, licorice, and vanilla strutting into a long, smoky finish.”

There's some speculation as to the provenance of the rum barrels, with suggestions the Diamond Distillery based in Guyana was the source. Ardbeg Drum ‘Committee Release’ was only available from the website via a secret link that sold out in 24 hours. With allocations for the general retail release less than last year's 'Grooves', expect this to go fast.

Tasting note: Pale straw gold. Less overtly smokey than you might expect, evoking a creamy vanilla sweetness on the nose: hints at grilled pineapple becoming fresher with citrus, menthol and whiffs of seaspray. Quite intense and Mezcal-like with char grilled fruits, vanilla, white chocolate and spikes of paprika and brine through the brisk, sooty finish. 46% Alc./Vol.

Other reviews... This Ardbeg Day 2019 bottling was aged in bourbon barrels before a period of finishing in rum casks. Characteristic Ardbeg citrus and smoke on the nose, but with the addition of green figs, eucalyptus, antiseptic, and brine. Very smooth on the palate, with woodsmoke, mango, and papaya. Big peat and black pepper notes in the finish, underscored by tangy citrus. Ultimately, ashy smoke.
89 points - whiskyadvocate.com, reviewed by: Gavin Smith (Summer 2019)