Sunday 27 June 2021

Ardbeg Day 2021 - Ardbeg Scorch [Tasted #527]

Ah, Ardbeg Day, that wonderful annual celebration for Ardbeggians all around the world, with increasingly epic events since its inception a decade ago. From digging up Arbdeg treasure at 2013's "Ardbog" event, to human foosball at 2014's "Auriverdes" event, to a secret island for 2016's "Dark Cove" event, not to mention all the great bar events in both HK and Australia in 2018 and 2019, there have certainly been some fantastic times (and that's not even including the actual Feis Ile events at the distillery).

Last year COVID did what COVID does (i.e. messed everything up), but that didn't stop us from tasting the 2020 "Blaaack" release, nor celebrating with a small bar night at Tiffany's New York Bar in Hong Kong - which incidentally is exactly what we did again this year, with COVID still making large-scale parties a non-starter.

Ardbeg Scorch is 2021's limited release (and again comes in both Committee Release and regular guise in Australia, but only the latter in HK, shown below). Matured in ex-bourbon American oak casks which have been heavily charred "by the fiery exhale of Warehouse 3’s definitely-real-and-totally-not-made-up dragon" (gotta love these press releases) the whisky harkens back to 2011's Alligator - now a cult favourite and yet another whisky I regret not picking up at Changi Duty Free when I had the chance!

LVMH were kind enough to send me a sample to try, along with an invitation to Tiffany's for a live stream tasting with new distillery manager Colin Gordon. We were guided through a tasting of 6 Ardbegs, which was great because whilst I'd tried almost all of them before, I'd never tried them all side by side. From Wee Beastie (a great value dram) to the Classic 10, An Oa, Uigeadail & Corryvreckan, it was great to spot the differences (some subtle, some very noticeable) between each. 

Of course, there was one whisky we were particularly there to try...

Adbeg "Scorch" (Ardeg Day 2021) (46% ABV, NAS, Islay, $2098HKD in a pack with the 10yo, $225AUD)

Colour: Orange brown-gold.

Nose: Smoked candied lemon & orange peel at first, then a burst of coastal salty peat. 

Palate: Initially velvety and sweet, with strong citrus notes then an emerging BBQ smoke. Caramel chews, salty sea air, licorice and oat cakes round things out.

Finish: Long citrus smoke and jelly babies, with some residual BBQ notes.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100. More complex than I was expecting. Sweeter too, but overall another winner. Not quite up there with Alligator if you ask me, but definitely worth your consideration. Well done Ardbeg.


Thanks to MHDHK for the invitation and sample.

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