Ardbeg 21 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland
Reviewed December 23, 2016 (edited December 21, 2017)
There are two samples I was really looking forward to this week, and this is one of them. ( other is the Cairdeas 2016). This is easily in the top three for me this year. As soon as the sample vial was opened, I was able to recognize the peat smoke. Not as wild and brute as the 10, but more refined. I also just received the Norlan glasses today, so wanted to give it a go using this sample as the inaugural launch. The liquid is light gold. And it has quite some legs, really viscous and oily. Just amazing. You have to let it sit a bit, like a good well mannered Pinot. Needs to breathe before you can really appreciate the aromas and taste. First taste is like nothing I've experienced...sort of like a cross between lime-mango-teriyaki, with a slight faint smoke. The smoke and peat gets stronger on the second sip. And really builds into this amazing tangy sweetness, but letting you know its DNA s still Ardbeg. The signature peat shows up. But it's not a brute. Rather you get layered texture: tangy-sweetness, followed by smoke and peat, followed by lime-lemon-mango, then finished with an almost a rye like spice, but not the same bite. Gentler, and smooth...my god it's smooth. This is a rare treat---thank you Lee for this experience!!!!!! Just amazing. In my mind, there are maybe 5-6 top whiskies I've had---in no particular order: a Brora 30, Rosebank 25, Macallan Fine Oak 15, Karuizawa, HW Midwinter, and now---this. Thanks to Lee for an amazing way to start the holiday season...