Monday 28 March 2016

Ardbeg Day (Ardbeg Night) 2016 & Tasting Dark Cove Committee Release (Tasted #275)

We've given a fair bit of coverage to Ardbeg Day over the years (having attended every single one between Steph, Hendy and myself), and for good reason - they're always one of the highlights of the whisky calendar.

Starting in 2012, with an "Islalympics" theme (and a special-release bottling simply called "Ardbeg Day"), it was then onto the archaeologically-themed Ardbog Day (and the related Ardbog release) for 2013, then the soccer-themed Ardbeg Day 2014 (with its Green and Gold adorned Auriverdes release), and most recently the futuristic-themed Ardbeg Day 2015 (with Perpetuum celebrating 200 years of Ardbeg).

So, after 4 fantastic events and 4 unique and enjoyable bottlings, it's fair to say we're a little excited about this year's Ardbeg Day...which is actually going to be Ardbeg Night. Ardbeg Night will be held on Saturday 28th May in Sydney, and will recall the "shadowy history of Ardbeg’s homeland", remembering the substantial illicit whisky trade that existed between Islay and the mainland in the 19th century. To celebrate, a special release known as "Dark Cove" has been released, in both regular guise (46.5% ABV, $169AUD) and Committee Release guise (55% ABV, $149.99AUD). Yes, at the moment the Committee Release is cheaper than the regular release (it's also available now, in Australia). thing we've noticed over the years is that Ardbeg Day in Sydney is getting increasingly popular. More people attending, more people wanting to attend. Ardbeg Day 2015 saw over 15,000 people attend 135 events globally last year, and we wouldn't be surprised if that increased this year. To address the popularity, Moet-Hennessy Australia have implemented a new system for tickets. Basically, to be in with a chance of winning tickets, you need to buy a bottle of Ardbeg Dark Cove Committee Release (if you do miss out though, Ardbeg's embassies like Stitch Bar and World of Whisky will be hosting events too).

Every bottle of Ardbeg Dark Cove Committee Release purchased between 15 March 2016 and 17 April 2016 will give the purchaser an entry into the draw to win two tickets to Ardbeg Night 2016. Participants simply need to:

1. Sign up to the Ardbeg Committee via
2. Purchase a bottle of Ardbeg Dark Cove Committee Release from 15 March 2016 via, which will place them into a ballot to attend Ardbeg Night 2016.
3. Winners be notified via telephone and email by 20th April 2016
Full details can be found at:

Now Ardbeg Day Night might not be until May, but we've been lucky enough to get our hands on a sample of the 55% ABV Committee Release thanks to the lovely folks at EVH. See below for our thoughts.

Ardbeg "Dark Cove" Committee Release (55% ABV, NAS, Islay, Scotland, $149.99AUD)
Colour: The darkest Ardbeg ever? Darker than the current regular line-up, for sure, but not quite El Diablo territory, and not as dark as some recent SMWS bottlings. Deep amber.

Nose: Rich, creamy peat....loads of peat. Coastal peat though - more maritime and less "campfire" than you may expect. Banana lollies and an overall freshness. At a guess I'd say there's a fair amount of youngish Ardbeg in here.

Palate: Big, rich and chewy. Peaty caramels (now there's an idea)! There's definite sherry influence, with red berries and a hint of mocha, but also a younger, fresher, sweeter character - licorice allsrts, musk sticks. Loads of coastal peat throughout.

Finish: Long and coastal-smoky. Fish nets, oysters, brine. With water comes a slightly earthier smoke. A hint of tannins at the end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. Another very enjoyable Ardbeg, one with a younger, stronger peat influence than some of the previous Ardbeg Day bottlings.


1 comment:

  1. Looks like you had lots of fun!