Ardbeg Galileo – Space Meets Whisky

The Ardbeg Galileo release is a celebration Ardbeg’s ‘space maturation’ joint experiment with an American space research company . They say that anyhow. This whisky is a marriage of marsala and bourbon casks to keep up the theme of experimentation. Ardbeg admits the research isn’t directly related to the spirit, and marsala also has a pretty tenuous association with Galileo (both are from Italy, so expect an Ardbeg Mussolini soon.) It bears the words ‘Space 1999’ seemingly (and I’m not kidding here) because 1999 sounded cool and someone remembered the old sci-fi show Space: 1999. Technically, of course, it does now have to be at least 1999 or older.

Cynicism or not, the marketers have waved their magic wands and we want it, we want it, we want it.

I got it, I got it, I got it. For an Ardbeg comparison, see the Ardbeg Day article.

Ardbeg Galileo – Semi-blind/known
Price: $95 US, £75 UK/Europe

• Nose: Compared to other Ardbegs (which I have done extensively now), this one has less of the classic earthy and rich nose and leans more toward dark fruits and mustiness. I don’t think I’d pick this as an Ardbeg completely blind. It’s not bad, but its cousins are better.

• Palate: For a second or so it’s Ardbeg again (yay!), but then it veers off course (boo!) The word dank springs to mind. It conjures an image of something that has sat in the dark for a long time and gone stale. Sure there’s a splash of sweet peppery Ardbeg at first, but from the 1 second mark to the end it’s just, well, annoying.

As for the ‘special releases’, this is my least favorite and comfortably so. The makers and pushers of this are claiming that it’s ‘well rounded’. If dank and stale are somehow circular in shape then they are correct. Kudos for trying (seriously), but this one failed and should be on the shelf with the other so-so $50 bottles. Better luck next time!

For information:
Bill Lumsden interview
Ardbeg Galileo article
Galileo Galilei (did he drink whisky?)
Space 1999 (great campy show!)

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