So, I opened this bottle way back in April, prior to Whiskyfest DC, as part of our hotel room bottle share. I figured we needed some high quality whisky to pregame for the festival. I bought this bottle last winter when it was initially released and I paid $600 to get my hands on one. I bought a second bottle about 3 months later after the initial craze died down, but I still paid $500 for it. Was it worth it? Let’s see... This bottle is not a continuation of the series Ardbeg started in 2016 with the 21 Year Old (as rumored). This was different stock they found onsite. It’s a blend of traditional ex-bourbon aged and ex-sherry cask aged. The 21 year was old stock bought back from an independent bottler. This 23 is bottled at 46.3% and is new gold in color and creates tons of skinny, fast running legs in the Glencairn. The nose had some incredible sherry sweetness right out of the gate. The smoke melded perfectly and there was some nice oak cask notes, BBQ and bacon with some grape wine influence. It was very complex and faded mostly to smoke after some time. The palate was smoked meats, chocolate, vanilla and sherry grapes. The cask gets left behind here and replaced with some salty notes and tons of smoke. The mouthfeel is luxurious and velvety smooth- which is totally expected with something this old. There’s not much alcohol heat and the smoke again slides to the front if you take your time with the sip. The finish is long with moderate spices and finally some barrel influence. It’s smoky and sweet at the same time and each sip makes you want to take another. This bottle was hands down the best Ardbeg I’ve ever tried. It isn’t as complex as the CorryV or the Uiggi, but they don’t hold a candle to how perfectly smooth and luscious this is. It’s hard to say whether or not this bottle is worth $500-600, but you could do a lot worse for sure. This one is battling for the top spot on my all time favorite list, so it’s easily a 5-star dram. If you want to try something close to perfection- pony up for a pour or a bottle and find out for yourself. It’s a beautiful dram. Cheers.
600.0 USD per Bottle