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North Star Ardbeg 12 Year Old Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 51.9%
With official distillery releases more and more concentrating on NAS (no age statement) bottlings, purists will welcome this: Distilled in 2005 after Glenmorangie's takeover, when Ardbeg was ramping up new production and releasing its "Work in Progress" series, this all-natural single cask Ardbeg promises aromas and flavours of pungent peat and pineapple, salted smoke and black cherry tobacco. Matured in a refill hogshead yielding 332 bottles. Very tempting and very limited. (Big score from Serge Valentin below). Non chill filtered. 51.9% Alc./Vol.Other reviews... 2005? This is clearly new regime Ardbeg, so this should be interesting. We’ve already tried these vintages but those were always bottled as ‘Kildalton’, or any other fancy name, never as Ardbeg if I remember well… Colour: pale white wine. Nose: a working kiln, peat smoke, burning oak, dried kelp, a touch of tarmac but less than in earlier decades vintages, new bicycle inner tube (as long as some bicycles still have inner tubes), perhaps a wee touch of phosphorus, bone-dry artisan cider… With water: wash, damp textile, sourdough, baker’s yeast and leaven… The cask’s been pretty lazy, and that has been a blessing. Mouth (neat): more extreme than I would have thought. Could you smoke a blend of grapefruit juice and ultra-ristretto coffee? It is extremely dry and bitter, and I really enjoy this. Noilly-Prat, Fernet-Branca, cold-distilled manzanilla (should anyone be crazy enough to do that)… With water: should you add enough water down to approx 15% vol., you would get manzanilla. Mustard, smoke, salt, seawater. Finish: very long, extremely sooty and ashy. Remember you just had the ashtray? Comments: extreme and good. So extremely good, but please do not try to pour this to total beginners.
89 points - Serge Valentin, whiskyfun.com