Generously_Paul

Ardbeg Twenty Something 23 Year

Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

Tasted
5.0
5.0 out of 5 stars
Well I’m back! It’s been nearly 3 weeks since my last review. A combination of travel, family responsibilities, home maintenance and a rather annoying summer cold kept me from having the time and faculties to do a proper review. The cold is still lingering, but I’m clear enough to get a review in. The final round of the SDT has begun, but before I dive into those samples I wanted to review this beauty as it marks my 250th review. I wanted to mark this occasion with an Islay as they are my first love. This bottle was one of the premium bottles we had at our hotel room tasting in DC at Whiskyfest, provided by @LeeEvolved Ardbeg Twenty Something is a 23 year old that, from my understanding, is the recent 21 year old with an extra 2 years of finishing is sherry casks. It’s bottled at 46.3% ABV and is non chill filtered and natural color of honey gold. The nose is pure Ardbeg peat smoke up front. Quite smoky given its age really, I’m impressed that the phenols in the distillate held up this well over its long life. Bonfire ashes, creosote and smoked ham with a honey glaze. Once the smoke subsided a little there is vanilla cream and custard, cherries and cherry wood, almonds. Very light sherry notes after some time, not too strong given it’s two year finishing period. Light mint and lemon notes, black tea and a hint of red grapes. After a good 45 minutes in the glass it develops a chalky note, so I would advise not letting it sit that long. A huge peppery arrival on the palate with sharp charred oak and a decent amount of peat smoke. I want to use the word elegant here, but it’s not quite on that level. I can say it’s about as elegant and an Ardbeg can be, but it’s still a powerhouse of a dram. Almonds, cherries/cherry cough syrup. Briny, slightly bitter black tea, a hint of sherry and vanilla. Way in the background there is some mint. A medium to medium full bodied mouthfeel that is mouth coating and lightly oily The finish is long with peat smoke, pepper, oak and more smoke. This stuff is good, really good. It’s powerful yet sophisticated, like a 24 oz. framing hammer with a velvet covered hand grip. Definitely better than the 21 year old which I found to be a bit on the weak side. I think Lee paid upwards of $500 for this bottle, and while I can’t say it was worth that kind of money I will say it’s worthy of a special occasion pour. In the hotel room this was hands down a 5 star dram, but under closer scrutiny it’s just not quite at that level. I gave the 21 a 4.25, and I think this one fits somewhere between 4.5 and 4.75. Given the price tag, I’ll go with the lower score and say it’s a solid, respectable 4.5. Cheers
500.0 USD per Bottle
  • PBMichiganWolverine

    @Generously_Paul @Rick_M Free app with no ads...I can live with a few bugs.

  • LeeEvolved

    The biggest issue I’m having is when I type a long-winded comment it doesn’t get posted. I hit the button, get the spinning icon, then nothing. Comment lost in the matrix. Grrrr, I hate that.

  • Rick_M

    @Generously_Paul - Agreed. I was part of the original beta program, but haven’t seen any communications of that nature recently.

  • Generously_Paul

    @Rick_M he is aware of many of the bugs that came along with the latest update. The SDT group has been in contact with him and he has detailed several of the fixes and features for the next update. We all need to be patient. For a free app with no ads, they have done wonders.

  • Rick_M

    Yes, it would be nice to hear from @mikael and get his thoughts on some of the changes.

  • Generously_Paul

    @mikael giveth and @mikael taketh away

  • Rick_M

    Looks like the constabulary is still squeezing us. Only 10 visible comments per review now, it seems. Hopefully, a bug.

  • Generously_Paul

    @LeeEvolved, it would seem you and I differ greatly on what constitutes a utopia.

  • LeeEvolved

    @Rick_M @Generously_Paul - I will rule this whisky utopia with an iron fist. All will be required to share heartily and frequently. Bad whisky will be sent to those who torment me. Still want me as Prez?

  • Generously_Paul

    Well @Rick_M I guess we set forth out nominations and let the democratic process see itself through.

  • Rick_M

    @LeeEvolved also has @cascode beat in the prolific category this year. 168 superb “reviews” to 127 superb “reviews.” The man is hitting his stride. :)

  • Rick_M

    @Generously_Paul - You make a good point. Eloquence is a good attribute to have, but what Shakespeare said 500 years ago still holds true today: “Dumb jewels often in their silent kind More than quick words do move a woman’s mind. “ The same often holds true for men. Since @LeeEvolved gives me free whisky, he automatically gets my vote. :)

  • LeeEvolved

    @PBMichiganWolverine - I was really disappointed with the 21. It was clearly all ex-bourbon cask and had lost most of its smoky characteristics. I can’t see another year of aging helping that stuff. But, I do have the set so- I guess I gotta buy one. Darn it.

  • PBMichiganWolverine

    @LeeEvolved. Money grab. And I bet you it’ll be no better or worse than their Uigi and Corry, the standard flag bearers of excellence

  • LeeEvolved

    I read that Ardbeg is releasing another Twenty Something later this year that’s 22yo ex-bourbon cask. This would probably be more of the Chivas-sources stuff (and subsequently a big cash grab). I don’t think I’ll be buying this latest batch since the 21yo was so lackluster IMO.

  • LeeEvolved

    Actually, Paul I don’t think the 23 is the remaining 21yo stock they bought back from Chivas and aged for 2 years in sherry casks. This is actual Ardbeg stock they had on hand that was a blend of some 23yo sherry cask and bourbon cask.

  • Telex

    I’d be just too busy drinking the inventory. ;)

  • Generously_Paul

    A good reason for not selecting @Telex, my rational would be that he would be more concerned about which song goes best with each line item than checking on the deficit.

  • PBMichiganWolverine

    @Generously_Paul Me...in charge of budget...I see an opportunity for massive fraud and money laundering. I guess better than @Telex who will most likely use the budget to upgrade his internet speed for his show. Or @Scott_E, who will most likely still be working on last quarter’s fiscal reports

  • Generously_Paul

    @Rick_M I don’t think @LeeEvolved should be considered for president of this new society. I fear a totalitarian dictatorship would form within 4-6 weeks of him taking power. Instead make him Secretary of Defense. @PBMichiganWolverine could be in charge of the budget and international relations given his frequent traveler status. @ScotchingHard could be Secretary of No BS Here, Not on My Watch. As far as president goes, I’m going to have to go with @cascode, the man knows his shit and is eloquent as hell.

  • LeeEvolved

    @Rick_M - I was thinking that, in the flavor of the day, we organize a protest at Distiller Worldwide HQ, and demand we all be crowned as expert reviewers. Why should Stephanie Moreno get all the good “tastes”?

  • Rick_M

    @LeeEvolved, I think we should embrace our new monicker and use this opportunity to form a new whisky society. We could call it the “Tipsy Tasters of Planet Earth”? Maybe we can attract competition from other planets that might be listening in. I propose you as our first president. :)

  • Soba45

    Congrats on 250. May your liver last many thousand more :-)

  • LeeEvolved

    @Rick_M - you’ve taken this demotion from reviewer to taster pretty hard. Lol

  • Rick_M

    @Generously_Paul - No, it’s been 3 weeks since your last “taste.” I just can’t get the hang of that. Happy 250th!

  • LeeEvolved

    Congrats on 250, Paul! Heckuva malt to choose for this occasion, too. I need to sit down with the remaining 4-5oz of this bottle and write my official review, too. Maybe later this week...