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Ardbeg An Oa Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)

$130. 00
$1560.00 Dozen
ABV: 46.6%

Named after a peninsula on the southernmost point of Islay, Bill Lumsden has mixed it up with this release employing a combination of casks: Pedro Ximénez, charred virgin oak and ex-bourbon. The liquid all goes into Ardbeg’s French oak "Gathering Vat". The concept seems to be that some of the spirits in the vat will get older as new casks are added, so it's a Solera of a kind. The age of the whiskies is never disclosed. An Oa (pronounced “an oh”) is set as a part of the core range joining the 10 year old, Uigeadail, and Corryvreckan. Lumsden describes the whisky as "...smoky, sweet and rounded, with unusually, grilled artichokes in the finish." As always with Ardbeg, the aroma is deceptively complex developing with sherried oak aromas, lanolin, sooty vanilla and later, dark chocolate and suggestions of smoldering green pine. Entry is assertively salty, kippery, peppery. Mid palate is oily, medium dry, offering sherried richness along with piney juniper, over-baked sponge cake, black tea and hints of smoked meats at the finish. No shortage of peat, but loses some momentum in the final stages. Non chill filtered. 46.6% Alc./Vol.

Other reviews... Ardbeg at its driest and most sooty: a real acidic bite to the huge phenol...sublimely textured with an immediate roll call of sugars... effortless and easy like gear changes on an automatic car. It is also beautifully delicious. 95.5 points - Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2018

...Ardbeg's first standard release in nearly a decade, An Oa is matured in virgin oak, Pedro Ximénez, and bourbon barrels, with component whiskies married in the distillery's French oak 'Gathering Vat.' The nose offers sweet peat, smoky lemon rind, ginger, and angelica. A soft and sweet palate entry is followed by hot peat, black tea, peppery cloves, and aniseed. Black pepper lingers through the long, smoky finish. 93 points - whiskyadvocate.com

...For now, anyway, in a lot of ways, this comes across a bit like “starter Ardbeg.” The peat is dialed back on the nose, which allows notes of crisp brine, toasted marshmallow, and hints of nutty sherry to emerge. The palate finds sherry-driven citrus dominating, with tea leaf and a rounded vanilla character creeping up behind it. Peat weaves in and out of all of this, along with notes of grapefruit, gingerbread, and some more raw petrol notes that linger on the finish. All told, it’s a bit of a melange of flavors that, if not exactly “starter Ardbeg” then at least comes across like “greatest hits Ardbeg” — a mix of this and that that feels at times like a blend of leftovers that didn’t get used in other expressions. That’s not totally a bad thing, really. Infinity bottles are fun for everyone! - drinkhacker.com