With Ardbeg, one end of the scale is the new 21 Year Old, about to be announced in the coming months. Old, dignified and matured in ex bourbon casks. If you haven’t heard of it, you can read Yoav’s take on this marketing screw up here.
This SMWS single refill sherry butt is just the opposite. Young, fiery and harsh, with a lot of smoking meats cooking on the BBQ.
SMWS 33.132 “Beauty and the Beast” – Ardbeg 8 Years Old, Refill Sherry Butt, Distilled 24 May, 2007, Outturn 624 Bottles (60.9% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Copper, pretty quick legs with a lot of residue.
Nose: A lot of wood smoke and grilling meat. You can get the Uigeadail similarly. The sherry imparts some soaked sultanas, and you get a distant hit of the sea. After some time and a bit of water the grilling meat gets sweeter on the nose and a little more salt comes through.
Palate: Violent and fiery on the palate, with a thick and syrupy consistency. A stale ash trey with sweetness. The sherry and peat seem somewhat at odds.
Linger: Peaty bittersweet chocolate, with a bitter linger and a drying and very ashy effect.
Water isn’t a must here, if you can handle the ABV.
This is a good cask, and not one you come across every day. It’s priced accordingly, and to me, not different enough from the better batches of Uigeadail to justify the price.