A new malt whisky has been released today by Islay’s Ardbeg, commemorating a time when the distillery was almost lost forever.
Ardbeg Twenty Something is a rare 23-year-old whisky, made with liquid from a mix of ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso sherry casks. It is non-chill-filtered and bottled at 46.3% ABV.
In the 1980s and 1990s, production at Ardbeg slowed to a trickle and the future of the distillery hung in the balance. During this period, only a small number of casks were laid down with the belief and vision to keep Ardbeg alive. A young Mickey Heads, now Ardbeg’s distillery manager, was among this group of visionaries.
Mickey said: “This magnificent whisky was created within the retired iconic still which stands proud outside our distillery today. It’s a glimpse back into Ardbeg’s turbulent past and reaffirms just why the distillery couldn’t be allowed to be disappear.”
In recognition of the unwavering support of the whisky’s loyal fans, Ardbeg Twenty Something has been released exclusively to members of the Ardbeg Committee, its international fan club. It is priced at £430 per bottle.
Mickey added: “Ardbeg Twenty Something is for all those who believe heart and soul in Ardbeg whisky, which is why it’s fitting that this most rare of drams – a 23-year-old – will be enjoyed by Committee members.”
Dr Bill Lumsden, director of distilling, whisky creation and whisky stocks at Ardbeg, said: “The ex-bourbon and oloroso casks I selected for Ardbeg Twenty Something have delivered a beautiful dram, bursting with rich, deep flavours.
“It has an incredibly smoky, silky quality which is outstanding. The fact that we’re releasing this 23-year-old in honour of the Ardbeg Committee makes it even more special.”
According to Ardbeg’s tasting notes, the new whisky offers sweet wood smoke and vanilla cream on the nose, mingled with sherry notes, burning pine cones and chocolate. On tasting, rich chocolate continues with vanilla pods, dried fruits and fennel. The long finish falls away with just a hint of spiciness.