Shape-shifting spirit inspires new Ardbeg limited edition

Ardbeg Kelpie

Islay distillery Ardbeg is to unveil a new limited edition as part of its annual celebration of Ardbeg Day on June 3.

The new Ardbeg Kelpie is the distillery’s first whisky with a heart matured in virgin oak from the Black Sea coast which imparts incredibly deep flavour notes, with ABV of 46%.

Married with hallmark whisky matured in ex-bourbon casks, it results in a whisky of incredible depth, which “tells of its ties to the Black Sea and the waves of flavour its casks have created”.

It takes its name from the kelpie – a Scottish shape-shifting water spirit, rumoured to take the form of a horse or a bull and prey on unwitting travellers.

Its release on June 3 is part of Ardbeg celebrations at the Islay distillery and at participating Ardbeg Embassies – bars, pubs, restaurants and shops recognised as supporters of the whisky brand.

The celebrations on June 3 will pay homage to the sea surrounding Islay and the mythical sea creatures that live beneath. Guests at the distillery will be invited to join in an Ardbeggian boat experience, followed by a tasting led by Ardbeg’s Paul Malone of the new Ardbeg limited edition alongside seafood pairings and a pub quiz on the history of Islay and Ardbeg.

The focus of this year’s activities on the mainland will be the Greenwich Yacht Club in London, with a ticketed event on June 3.

Teams from Ardbeg Embassies will be challenged to decorate their own “kelpie boat”, adding their own mythical figurehead from materials and props supplied.

The participating teams will have to paddle across a stretch of water to reach a number of buoy targets en route. Each buoy will lead to a treasure hidden under the water.

The new whisky will be available exclusively at Ardbeg Embassies for the first two weeks before going on more general release. It will have a recommended price in retail of £98 per 70cl bottle.

Ardbeg Kelpie tasting notes from the distillery
Colour: Burnished gold
Aroma: A wonderful, intense, “dancing” nose, with lots of different, intertwined aromas – powerful, oily peat, dark chocolate, smoked fish, hints of seaweed, and a curious, sharp herbal note. Waves of spicy black pepper. A splash of water brings forth some classic Ardbeg notes, such as creamy coffee, smoked fudge and pine resin. Even some hints of smoked coconut.
Taste: A peppery mouthfeel is followed by a crescendo of rich flavours. Treacle toffee, Turkish coffee, smoky bacon and lots of dark, dark chocolate. A curious burst of peachy, estery fruit, hickory wood, clove oil and a suggestion of black olives.
Finish: Seemingly lasting forever, with deep, deep, almost subterranean flavours of clove, tar, and rich toffee.

Ardbeg Day

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