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Ardbeg Still Young Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 56.2%
In the wake of the astonishing quality and consistency of Ardbeg's recent releases, one is left with the impression that this distillery is and has always been a bulletproof operation. Decades of financial mismanagement forced the distillery to close in the early '80s with the loss of 17 jobs, devastating the tiny community of Islay (not to mention whisky lovers worldwide). Consequently, Ardbeg bottlings on the secondary market soared in value, gaining a mythical notoriety not dissimilar to that of Port Ellen, another Islay distillery mothballed in the '80s. A glimmer of hope returned when a trickle of production resumed towards the end of the decade, but the tipping point occurred in 1997. Glenmorangie PLC purchased the distillery and set about restoring Ardbeg, and her surroundings to their former glory. Distilling was in full swing by 1998. Enter the marketing genius of Glenmorangie and the launch of 'The path to maturity' range of whiskies. In 2004, a 6 year old called 'Very Young' was released, and subsequently snapped up by collectors and drinkers eager to get reacquainted with an old friend. 2006 saw the 8 year old 'Still Young' release, which received phenomenal praise from critics and whisky lovers alike. By 2007, following the hit 'Almost There', the picture was almost complete. Ardbeg's 'Rennaisance', the final piece of the puzzle, was released in 2008, proudly proclaiming 'We've Arrived!'
It is with considerable excitement that we're able to offer the last parcel available of the 'Still Young' 8 year old release. Before you recoil at the age statement, we should point out that 8 years was seen as the peak maturity for Scotch whisky up until the 1960s. Companies have been making excessive profits from older bottlings since. Our experience with younger Scottish bottlings as well as Australian malt whiskies (the oldest of which we've seen is 8 years) seems to suggest that there is no direct relationship between age and quality. Rather, a spirit must deliver balance, precision and harmony in it's youth to be worthy of great age. If any of these elements are missing from the outset, time in oak casks will certainly not make up for it. To add to this; In his 2009 Whisky Bible on Ardbeg Still Young, Jim Murray writes '...a couple of generations back - maybe even less - this would not have been so much 'Still Young' as 'Getting on a Bit.' This is a very good natural age for an Ardbeg as the oak is making a speech but refuses to let it go on too long. Stylish - as one might expect. And, in my books, should be a regular feature. Go on. Be proud say it: Ardbeg Aged 8 Years. Get away from the marketing straight jacket of old age.' (93 points)
Tasting note: Very pale straw colour with water like hue. An initial whiff of fresh, sweet smoke blows away quickly to reveal a classic Ardbeggian mishmash of aromas. Spearmint, potting mix, damp clay, creamy vanilla, green peppercorn, liquorice and talcum powder all hovering above an intense sweet citrus / toffee base note. An astonishing nose. Such complexity and power delivered so gracefully. At natural strength the palate is firm and prickly, delivering intense flavours of smoke, menthol and leather above a rich toffee apple, pepper and spice background. Adding a few drops of water transforms the experience considerably. Very ripe pineapple comes to the fore on the nose, while the palate becomes rich, soft, and velvety, revealing Ardbeg's sweet peat, citrus, mint and vanilla, whilst retaining the hint of smoke and spice which runs through the aftertaste. Everything anyone could ever want from thisdistillery. Scaled down Supernova for the masses! 56.2% Alc./Vol.
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