Ardbeg Day

Ardbeg is having a bit of an event on June 2 that they are calling ‘Ardbeg Day’. It’s big and worldwide, although the distillery itself will be the epicenter of the party. Little satellite parties such as the 16 spread throughout the United States will surely be awash in peated spirit. To celebrate the occasion, Ardbeg is releasing a new single malt, as they have tended to do annually.  This year’s release: Ardbeg ‘Day”.   I’m not sure this idea was brilliant or a flop.  I for one missed the distinction between the malt and the event until I stumbled across the bottle itself.  This Ardbeg is a limited Committee Release so jump on it if you see it.   Here’s what the bottle notes have to say about it:

“A spectacular fusion of two different styles of Ardbeg, the first being sweet and spicy (vanilla fudge, chocolate limes, cloves, aniseed balls); the second a powerful, deep, botanical Ardbeg.  When brought together for six months in re-fill sherry bitts, they have combined beautifully.”

And here are my tasting notes:

Ardbeg Day:
Nose: Burnt toffee, tar, paraffin, and pumpkin pie.

Palate: A bit waxy in taste and feel.  Fresh hay dipped in iodine and a little bit of butterscotch.  Waxy cashews. Hot, put a little water saves the day without dampening the flavors.  Vegetal finish is decent. B/B+.

A bit waxy in taste and feel.  Fresh hay dipped in iodine and a little bit of butterscotch.  Waxy cashews.  Hot, put a little water saves the day without dampening the flavors.  Vegetal finish is decent.

Is it good?  Sure, I’d drink it all day.   I wouldn’t call it hype-worthy however.  The Gator and Corry releases were better (although pricier.)  I’ve included some informal notes I dug up for some of the more recent Ardbeg releases, just for comparison.

Nose: Grassy and fresh tar. Decently strong

Palate: Very thin mouthfeel, moldy grass and mint. Asphalt and coat leather. Altogether just a simple young Ardbeg, very much like Ardbeg Still Young released a few years ago. The finish is fleeting although I’m not sure I’d want it to linger. Disregarding the collectability, I’d call it a good $25 peater for when you’re in the mood. C+/B-

Nose: Strong. Superbubble bubblegum, lemon pine sol and briney air. Taste is, wow, aggressive. Reminds me of a PC6. The peat is there, but the 100ppm isn’t the big player here (i.e., 60 ppm would be similar). The pine-sol sticks to the back of the palate and stays until you wash your mouth out. The sweetness is fleeting, which is a drawback for me. Water only makes the bitter-leafiness more prominent.

Nose: Red hots and fruitcake. Strong and sharp.

Palate: Christmas! Evergreen (noble fir) and Christmas spice all lingering over this smoky base that reminds me of a fireplace whose flames just died out. This is exactly what I’m going to tell my son to leave out for Santa. B+/A-

Nose: Water sealant on a new wooden deck. Nice

Palate: This is a great hard-hitter. Carpentry chemicals and charcoal at Christmas. The finish REALLY sticks to you. Bites, but in the good way.

Gnac Night

Cognac? Armagnac? But aren’t we all about Whisky?  Yes, but we also focus on learning, and an important part of knowing about whisky is knowing what distinguishes it from other fine spirits.  On May 25th the LA Scotch Club will travel down the Chunnel from Scotland to France to explore HIGH END Cognac and Armagnac… the kind that don’t make rap videos. These featured “Gnacs” are rare and highly acclaimed. To sweeten the deal we’ve invited Franck Vigneron of Maison Comandon to present an introduction to Cognac. Comandon is a great house that’s starting to turn heads. They’re old (1821), yet young in that they’re innovative and are gaining notoriety with awards piling up.

The event will be at Jack and Jill’s Too, near Beverly Hills. We’ll have a crepe dinner and dessert and the following Cognacs and Armagnacs:

Pierre Ferrand 1965
Ragnaud-Sabourin 35 Cognac
Tariquet 1982 Armagnac
Tesseron Lot 29 Cognac
Labaude Armagnac 1974
Tesseron Lot 29 Cognac
Comandon VS
Comandon VSOP
Comandon XO
Comandon Single Barrel